Virginia Tech Magazine, fall 2011

Page 1

fall 2011 vol. 34, no. 1

VirginiaTech magazine



WON Fisticuffs, growing pains, and the Hokie way

Comfort Food A resurgence in local foods and urban gardening

21st -century Extension The enduring relevance of Virginia Cooperative Extension

Message from the President

Virginia Tech,

A Job-Development Engine


Recently, the Commonwealth of Virginia deservedly garnered yet another award for its business-friendly policies and reputation. Organizations such as Forbes and CNBC, among others, have singled out Virginia for its strong job-creation climate. If universities were accorded such accolades, I suspect that Virginia Tech would be near the top of the list, too. Land-grant universities like Tech began in order to make America’s farms and factories more productive and so always have had strong programs linked to job development. Virginia Tech takes it a step further into the 21st century. We proudly cultivate our entrepreneurial culture and institutional focus on job creation. Indicators abound. The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC), the most visible manifestation of the academy/ jobs linkage, just completed its successful 25-year build-out of the original concept. Now home to more than 140 companies in 1 million square feet of space and employing more than 2,200 people, the CRC is entering its next phase by creating facilities that will more than double the current research park’s size. The newly formed Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute already has snagged some of the nation’s leading scholars and scientists; its annual budget exceeds $20 million and grows rapidly with each new research contract. With the emergence of the institute’s partner, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, as well as the fact that the CRC-based Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduates more than 200 doctors annually, this region is positioned to develop a significant medical technology infrastructure and biomedical clusters. We expect to see spin-offs or high-tech firms quickly attracted to the area. When Rolls-Royce elected to make its $170 million investment in its first U.S. aircraft engine component factory built from the ground up, it cited access to intellectual capital at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia as decision drivers. Working with Rolls-Royce, our universities will develop a Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing near the company’s plant south of Petersburg and a jet propulsion lab here on campus. Eventually, Rolls-Royce expects to employ as many as 500 people in Virginia.

Supplying graduates to firms, small and large, around the globe, Virginia Tech prepares students who are in high demand. But the strong tech sector deserves special notice here. No longer an “emerging” component of the local economy, technology companies comprise 18 percent of regional employment, according to a 2009 study by the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC). The local economy added 382 new tech companies between 2002 and 2009, growing from 1,312 to 1,694 business units. These new businesses are concentrated in four categories: computer/networks; systems engineering; software development; and scientific, engineering, or technical consulting. Total tech-sector employment in the region approaches 40,000 jobs. From my standpoint, the RBTC study yielded this very important fact: Proximity to Virginia Tech and its talent was the most frequently mentioned factor for prompting businesses to locate to the region. Alumni who have been gone for more than a few years might be surprised by the vibrant entrepreneurial business sector in Blacksburg and Southwest Virginia. There is a strong business-development infrastructure. Outside venture funds are taking notice and making headway. The CRC and VT KnowledgeWorks also serve as venture funds. VT KnowledgeWorks, a full-spectrum business acceleration center, currently is working with more than 60 firms at all stages of corporate maturity to launch them into the marketplace. Additionally, the RBTC actively nurtures startups and promotes the region to attract tech companies. The Virginia Tech Foundation invests in venture funds, often with the proviso that the funds work with local businesses. Indeed, the foundation is engaged with many economic development ventures, too numerous to mention here. Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties maintains and markets a portfolio of university scholars’ inventions. [Editor’s note: In future issues, Virginia Tech Magazine will present a more in-depth picture of the university’s role as a catalyst of economic development.] Actively inventing the future, your university is playing a vital role in creating the jobs of today and tomorrow. This short column just scratches the surface. Contact us for ways in which you can be part of the Virginia Tech job-development engine.

Contents Fall 2011

Vol. 34, No. 1

14 5 Ways to Foil Online Thieves


Don’t draw a bull’s-eye on your (virtual) chest. Keep yourself protected when it comes to computer security. From Facebook no-no’s and password strength to the latest cyberthreats, Virginia Tech experts weigh in on an issue that won’t go away until the FarmVille cows come home.

18 Comfort Food: A resurgence in local foods and urban gardening In response to a growing sense of disconnect between the consumer and the food producer and in the wake of food-related public health crises, local foods and urban gardening are taking root as safer, more transparent, and more sustainable approaches to food production.

24 21st-century Extension: The enduring relevance of Virginia Cooperative Extension Extension has come far since it sprang from a few demonstration farms and corn and tomato clubs near the turn of the century. Almost 100 years later, Virginia Cooperative Extension weathers changing times and budget cuts, continuing to fulfill its mission of putting university knowledge to practice across the commonwealth.


30 How Virginia Tech Was Won: Fisticuffs, growing pains, and the Hokie way An 1878 dispute over how Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College—now Virginia Tech—should be structured ended in a fistfight between President Charles L.C. Minor and the commandant of cadets, Gen. James H. Lane. The quarrel made headlines in its day—and brought to the forefront a debate that would shape the university community for years to come.

37 Living Pylons: Why We Fight In the first of an ongoing series featuring alumni-penned essays about living the Pylon values, Capt. George Flynn (business information technology ’01) discusses how a Hokie football-inspired lunch pail became a symbol of service for Echo Company Marines.


40 Alumnus builds a city in the hills of Palestine Building a city from scratch is no easy task anywhere in the world, let alone in Palestine, where lasting peace is hard to come by. Yet Bashar Masri (chemical engineering ’83) isn’t worried about the obstacles—a resolve that’s indicative of his commitment to growth and development in his native country.

48 Alumni Association News page 49: Commentary page 50: 2010-11 Alumni Association Annual Report page 52: Alumni Association awards page 54: 2012 Drillfield Series page 55: Alumni travel tours

Letters to the Editor . . . . . . . . 2 Around the Drillfield . . . . . . . . 3


How Tech Ticks . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Professor Profile . . . . . . . . . . 12 Corps of Cadets . . . . . . . . . . 17 Philanthropy . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Book Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Class Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

On the cover: The dispute between President Charles L.C. Minor and Gen. James H. Lane, the commandant of cadets, resulted in a fistfight at an 1878 faculty senate meeting and left an indelible impression on Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. Illustration by Steven White ’92.

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


Letters to the Editor

Virginia Tech Magazine Fall 2011, Vol. 34, No. 1 Editor

Jesse Tuel Assistant Editor

Denise Young Art Director

Robin Dowdy Graphic Designers

Tiffany Pruden, David Stanley Creative Services Manager

Glen Duncan Intern

Olivia Kasik Copy Editors

Juliet Crichton, Richard Lovegrove Webmaster

Juliet Crichton Contributors

Juliet Crichton, George Flynn ’01, Dave Hunt, Richard Lovegrove, Albert Raboteau, Rock Roszak ’71, Michael Sutphin ’06, Susan Trulove Photographers

Michael Kiernan, John McCormick, Jim Stroup, Ryan Stone Business Manager

Paula Vaught Alumni Notes

Shirley Fleet Director of Marketing and Publications

Melissa Richards

Associate Vice President for University Relations

Larry Hincker ’72, M.B.A. ’94 Vice President for Alumni Relations

Tom Tillar ’69

Address changes and circulation inquiries should be mailed to the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, Holtzman Alumni Center (0102), Blacksburg, VA 24061, or sent via email to alumnidata@ Alumni notes should be mailed to Alumni Notes, Virginia Tech Alumni Association, Holtzman Alumni Center (0102), Blacksburg, VA 24061, or sent via email to Adver tising oppor tunities are throughout the magazine, and alumni may promote their businesses in the Class Notes section. For advertising rates and information, contact vtmag@



Architecture memories The article “The Raw Materials of Creativity” in the summer edition of Virginia Tech Magazine was of considerable interest to me. I [earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees] in architectural engineering in 1942 and was on the faculty of the department from 1947-59. In the time before and after World War II, the Department of Architectural Engineering was on the top floor of Patton Hall. There we were assigned a desk and a stool. To that, we brought our drafting equipment, paper, and art supplies needed to engage in creative work. By contrast, today, computers have programs that allow one to produce a three-dimensional image that can be put through changes as one wishes. And that can be done while relaxing in an office chair! Students in the studios would bring radios to play while pursuing their creativeness. But that would disturb classes below. Hence, radios were not to be played except after supper. One student was particularly defiant of the rule. Professor [Clinton Harriman] Cowgill, whose office was at the other end of the hall, heard the sound. Consequently, he went to the drafting room, picked up the radio, and tossed it out the window. Bertram Y. Kinzey Jr. ’42 Blacksburg, Va.

The tiniest tackler My husband, Seth Milans (finance ’03), and I have two young children. Our baby, Teddy, has left torticollis, which caused him to favor looking to his right and created a noticeable flat spot on the right side of his head. He had to wear a DOC band 23 hours a day to reshape his head. The band is a time-intensive, expensive process, but parents can have some fun with it by decorating the band. Seth and I had no doubts how we wanted to decorate Teddy’s DOC band—we made him a Hokie helmet! Since he got the band in early April, he has turned heads and even gets “Go, Hokies” cheers when we go into places like Target [and] the grocery store. It taught us that Hokie pride, tenacity, optimism, and a parent’s love can blend together in the most unexpected ways. Everyday outings with Teddy became moments of laughter and smiles as VT’s tiniest tackler

went about his day in Northern Virginia. Teddy was a true Hokie football player throughout the process too; he was tough, unfazed, and threw his body around like he’d been playing lunch-pail defense since birth. We are so proud to say that Teddy finally graduated from his DOC band [in July], but that Hokie spirit will always exude from his beautifully shaped head. Sarah Milans ’03 Herndon, Va. Do you have something to say? Send us your thoughts at Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. The university is subject to Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistant Act of 1974, Federal Executive Order 11246, Virginia’s State Executive Order Number Two, and all other applicable rules and regulations. Anyone having questions concerning any of those regulations should contact the Office for Equity and Access, Southgate Center, Ste. 179 (0319), Blacksburg, VA 24061, 540231- 9331.

Around the Drillfield


Pete Dye River Course ranked No. 9 in college courses

And the winner is…

The Pete Dye River Course at Virginia Tech earned high marks from Golfweek magazine when the publication ranked Tech’s course ninth among campus golf courses. Built in 1998 and renamed The Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech in 2006, the course climbed from its position at No. 18 in Golfweek’s ranking last year—making it the fastest riser on the list and the highest-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference course. The course hosted the 2011 NCAA Regional Golf Tournament and received a nearly perfect 4 1/2 star rating from the readers of Golf Digest magazine in their “Best Places to Play” poll for 2011. Five sets of tees along 2.5 miles of the New River provide a prime destination for golfers. Virginia Tech golf coach Jay

Hardwick said the “championship layout and the first-class facilities afforded with it have helped the Hokies remain competitive in an extremely competitive conference and collegiate golf landscape.”

New lecture series brings medical science to life The biology of the criminal mind, the development of childhood obesity, and the mechanisms of chronic pain are among the many topics that will be explored in a new series of scientific talks in Roanoke. Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, the Distinguished Visiting Scholars Series will feature top experts from across the country throughout the academic year. Each visiting scholar will present two free lectures—one tailored to the public and a second, more technical one.

6) “Mockingjay,” Suzanne Collins 7) “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” Stieg Larsson 8) “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” Stieg Larsson 9) “Freedom,” Jonathan Franzen 10) “The Hunger Games,” Suzanne Collins

6) No Country for Old Men 7) Avatar The top 10 books and top 25 8) Up DVDs checked out from Newman Li9) The Hurt Locker brary in the 2010-11 academic year 10) The Departed give us a glimpse into the interests 11) Up in the Air of the Virginia Tech community. 12) Mad Men, Season Three 13) Mad Men, Season Two Top 10 books 14) WALL-E 1) “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Top 25 DVDs 15) Gladiator Lacks,” Rebecca Skloot. 1) Battlestar Galactica: The Com- 16) V for Vendetta 2) “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” plete Series 17) Pineapple Express Stieg Larsson 2) Star Trek: The Next Generation: 18) The Hangover 3) “Dog and Bear: Two Friends, The Complete Series 19) The Bank Job Three Stories,” Laura Vaccaro 3) Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Pou- 20) Charlie Wilson’s War Seeger lain (Amélie from Montmartre) 4) “Catching Fire,” Suzanne Collins 4) Cidade de Deus (City of God) 5) “Never Let Me Go,” Kazuo Lists compiled by Mary Lucado, circulation 5) Juno supervisor Ishiguro Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


Around the Drillfield

Reaping the harvest of W.B. Alwood On Oct. 14, one of the most recognizable landmarks on Virginia Tech’s campus— the bur oak in front of Burruss Hall—was dedicated to W.B. Alwood, one of Virginia Tech’s most famous scientists and the man who planted the tree around 1900. Alwood, a faculty member from 1888-1904, was an internationally recognized scientist, a reputation that brought positive recognition to the young institution. In 1897, he discovered and managed an outbreak of an invasive insect that

threatened to destroy the fruit industry in the eastern United States. As part of his efforts, he organized the Virginia State Horticultural Society, which has been a major force behind the industry ever since. In 1907, his leadership in viticulture was recognized by the French government, which awarded him the prestigious Merite Agricole medal and the rank of officer. In addition to these contributions to his profession, Alwood left several important legacies at Virginia Tech. He was the key to establishing the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and laid the foundation for the Col-

For these stories and more, check out VT News at For a regular dose of news, sign up for the Virginia Tech Daily Email at the site.


lege of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Today, because of his efforts, Virginia Tech students are able to study horticulture, plant pathology, and entomology. In 1927, he donated his vast personal library to the university—a collection that is still used today. Former university President Julian Burruss noted that Alwood should forever be remembered for what he did to assist the university in its early days.

From July 18-23 in Europe, a Virginia Tech Recreational Sports intramural sports graduate assistant instructed and trained military personnel to officiate flag football games. Jeff Feldhaus, a second-year graduate forestry student in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, was part of the 2011 U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza Flag Football Official Clinic team. The team hosted the



Student teaches officiating to service members abroad

W.B. Alwood

For more information on Alwood and his legacy, visit

Scientist awarded $1 million grant to study origin of life

New molecule tested as a delivery vehicle to image, kill brain tumors

Around the Drillfield

universities, according to the ACC website. “The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics In September, the Atlanand the addition of Pitt and tic Coast Conference (ACC) Council of Presidents voted to Syracuse further strengthaccept the University of Pitts- ens the ACC culture in this burgh and Syracuse University regard,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in the as new members. The invitation followed the submission of conference’s announcement. letters of application from both “Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC’s reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and Hokie robots dominate soccer challenge geographically bridges our Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory footprint between Maryland (RoMeLa) dominated the RoboCup 2011 soccer competiand Massachusetts. With the tion—winning the grand prix Louis Vuitton Humanoid addition of Pitt and Syracuse, Cup, and taking first in the Adult-Size Robot and Kid-Sized the ACC will cover virtually Robot divisions—in July 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. Winning the entire Eastern seaboard of the cup was a first for the United States. “This (win) has a the United States.” significant symbolic meaning, showing the shift in the leaders in humanoid robotics in the world,” said Dennis Hong, Salaries for Hokie associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of alumni eclipse most RoMeLa. university graduates weeklong clinic in Wiesbaden, Germany, followed by another clinic in Vicenza, Italy, with the help of each base’s Army Morale, Welfare, and Recreation program. At the end of training, each service member in attendance was certified to be a flag football official. Some participants were also certified to be clinicians so they can teach the clinics at their respective bases.

Accepting Pittsburgh and Syracuse, ACC expands to 14 members

Doctoral student Jeakweon Han anxiously stands by as CHARLI 2 kicks a ball.


Robots online: See the full story and videos at

What is the leading athletic conference in the nation? The resulting discussion might occupy rabid fans for an eternity. In an interesting twist on rankings, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) released a report showing how schools playing in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) compared on a metric other than sports—starting salaries of graduates. With an average starting salary of $51,600 for graduates, Virginia Tech ranks fifth in the nation, behind

Hokie Camp encourages smooth transition to college for new students

Stanford, Duke, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame. Virginia Tech also ranked in the top 20 nationally for mid-career salaries of graduates of FBS schools. At No. 14, Virginia Tech graduates bring in an average mid-career salary of $91,500. Moreover, the ACC ranked first among all 11 FBS conferences for most money earned by graduates in their initial jobs following graduation, according to a study published by the website The ACC also placed No. 1 for mid-career salaries of graduates, with an average of $90,192. To read more about the ACC report, see page 29 at For further information on starting salaries and where Hokies are employed after graduation, see Virginia Tech Career Services, PostGraduationSurveyReport/ PostGrad.html.

Researchers hurry to gather quake data ahead of Hurricane Irene The College of Engineering’s James R. Martin II, a renowned expert on earthquakes, was asked Aug. 26 to lead an investigative team of U.S. scientists and engineers to document aftereffects of the Aug. 23 East Coast earthquake centered near Mineral, Va. With Hurricane

Susan Wyche receives Skype grant for human-computer interaction research

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


Around the Drillfield

Preston’s new dinner menu ramps up quality with focus on fresh, local ingredients


The new dinner menu at Preston’s, the restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, puts an emphasis on locally grown and produced foods and all-natural ingredients. “We have begun eliminating packaged or frozen products in favor of local farm-to-table ingredients. Our menu will be updated with fresh, seasonal dishes reflecting a refined American menu concept,” said food and beverage director Max Kiebach.

Irene making landfall Aug. 27, his investigative team had to move fast to take samples, create maps, and photograph regional damage to subsurface and infrastructure locations. The earthquake measured 5.8 on the Richter magnitude scale and was felt not only across Virginia, but as far south as Georgia and as far north as New Hampshire, according to myriad news reports and social media status updates.

Tech establishes cooperative research center to focus on cybersecurity In cooperation with L-3 Communications, Northrop


Grumman, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, and Verisign Labs, Virginia Tech has received a five-year continuing grant to establish a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center site for cybersecurity. Initial topics of research for the center include secure computing architectures, cloud computing security, visualization tools for cyber defense, securing critical infrastructure, wireless security, and malware detection and mitigation. The new cybersecurity site joins the Security and Software Engineering Research Center, which is

led by Ball State University and includes a primary site at Iowa State University and now Virginia Tech.

Student awarded grant to study diabetes, obesity Stephanie Nicole “Nikki” Lewis, a graduate student in Virginia Tech’s interdisciplinary doctoral program in genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology, received the prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Predoctoral Research from the National Institutes of Health. The award is for her study of a cellular signaling receptor that is associated with chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease. Because current drugs result in adverse side effects, the search for drugs targeting the receptor is urgently needed.

Tech receives high marks for sustainability Virginia Tech was named one of 16 colleges on The Princeton Review’s 2012 Green Rating Honor Roll. The honor means that Virginia Tech achieved the highest possible score in its Green Rating tallies. The survey of 768 schools measured three key areas: whether the school’s students have a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable; how well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by envi-

ronmental challenges; and the school’s overall commitment to environmental issues. In addition, the university achieved a Silver Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for performance in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) Program. Virginia Tech received an overall score of 61.94, approximately three points short of the Gold Rating. In spring 2011, Virginia Tech announced its participation in the STARS rating system in order to measure progress made toward achieving targets outlined in the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan adopted by the board of visitors in 2009.

Green500 list shows more supercomputers going green The newly released Green500 List shows a continuing rapid improvement in environmentally friendly supercomputers around the world, according to Wu Feng, associate professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech. Founded by Feng and Kirk W. Cameron, associate professor of computer science, the Green500 List has ranked the energy efficiency of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers since debuting in 2007, serving as a complement to the well-known supercomputer

Around the Drillfield

industry marker TOP500. The list is released twice a year, in June and in November.

Public health center formed at Tech


The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment at Virginia Tech announced the formation of the Center for Public Health Practice and Research, to be directed by Kathy Hosig, associate professor of population health sciences. Formerly the Institute for Community Health, the new center was created in response to the increase in health-related research across campus and the new master of public health program. The center’s mission is to foster interdisciplinary, collaborative public health practice and research activities at Virginia Tech and among external public health agencies, organizations, practitioners, and researchers.

Left to right, members of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team: John Saffran, Patrick Walsh, Lynn Gantt, Brad Bowman, John Ely, and Andy Karpin. All studied mechanical engineering and since have graduated.


three-year design competition that sought to inspire science and engineering students in the United States and Canada Students’ hybrid ve- to build more energy-efficient automobiles. In all, the team of hicle wins EcoCAR College of Engineering graduate competition Virginia Tech’s Hybrid and undergraduate students Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) won 14 awards. won the EcoCAR Challenge, a Approximately 66 stu-

dents—overseen by mechanical engineering Professor Doug Nelson—re-engineered a 2009 General Motors crossover SUV into a hybrid electric vehicle that boasts the equivalent of 82 miles per gallon. Prestige, cash prizes, and trophies were not the only benefits of the competition.

DID YOU KNOW that 33,921 donors made a gift to Virginia Tech in 2010? Each gift is the result of a donor’s affection for the university, and we want to see the mementos that remind you of your time at Tech. It could be a ticket stub from 1970, a uniform you keep neatly folded in the attic, or the first photo of you and your future spouse on the Drillfield. Whatever motivated you to give a gift, we want to see it. Send pictures and a brief description to, and they just might end up in an online gallery for our winter 2011-12 edition.

Ninety percent of the graduating students on the 2010-11 team found jobs right out of school because of their exposure to industry-leading software and hardware tools. “It was an intense 2.5 years for me, but in the end I am a far better engineer because of the experience that EcoCAR and HEVT provided me,” said Patrick Walsh, who earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in spring 2011 and is now a research engineer at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. In a three-year competition that started this fall, Nelson is now leading a new student team on EcoCAR 2.

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


University expands its research accessibility JIM STROUP



Theresa Jefferson, project director for the Center for Technology, Security, and Policy, and research faculty member Jack Harrald visit about a research report on the New Madrid Fault.


Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger at the Virginia Tech Research Center—Arlington grand opening (below), and the center’s visualization room, which features a 3-D display wall (above).


A new center and an applied research initiative are making Virginia Tech’s broad research capabilities even more accessible. The Virginia Tech Research Center— Arlington opened its doors at 900 N. Glebe Road with a Meet the Scientists event on June 17, a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 24, and an open house on June 26 for the surrounding community, which includes high-technology companies and many of the federal government’s leading science and research agencies. The building is among the bestconnected research facilities in the world, incorporating next-generation Internet with direct fiber access to National LambdaRail, Internet 2, and multiple federal networks. Such connectivity links the center to the Blacksburg campus and other major universities and facilities worldwide, and provides a secure data center for high-performance computingbased research. The highly visible facility expands the university’s research portfolio in the National Capital Region and brings together a number of established research centers and institutes, including the Advanced Research Institute; Arlington Innovation Center: Health Research; Center for Geospatial Information Technology; Center for Technology, Security, and Policy; Computational Bioinformatics and Bioimaging Laboratory; Institute for Science, Culture, and Environment; Hume Center; Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science; Virginia Bioinformatics Institute; and Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. The Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (VT-ARC), headquartered in Blacksburg, also has offices in the new

Arlington facility. A private nonprofit corporation affiliated with Virginia Tech, VT-ARC was established to foster applied research and development and to manage large contract-research projects. “We created the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation as an important feature in Virginia Tech’s rise as a world-class research institution,” said Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. “VT-ARC will leverage Virginia Tech research toward solving some of our nation’s most critical challenges in intelligence, cyber and IT, national security, health, and energy. As our affiliate, VT-ARC will partner with us to extend the brand and impact of Virginia Tech in new ways and new places. It is my vision to see VT-ARC as the portal to the power of Virginia Tech for government and industry.” Said Tom McNamara, VT-ARC president and CEO, “Intelligence, cybersecurity, and national security are important national challenge areas where VT-ARC will apply advanced technology and engineering through multidisciplinary teams composed to solve complex problems. VT-ARC will develop security strategies, policies, technologies, advanced concepts, applied R&D, and test and evaluation methodologies to enhance our nation’s security in these important areas.” Susan Trulove is the public relations manager for the Office of Research. Barbara Micale, public relations manager in Tech’s National Capital Region, and VT-ARC personnel contributed to this article. Learn more about the Virginia Tech Research Center—Arlington at www.ncr. Visit http:// for more information about VTARC.

! d e t i v n i e r ’ u o Y

We’re Opening Our Doors on Nov. 12, 2011. Explore our picturesque campus. See our exciting research. Interact with faculty and students. Spend a day at the commonwealth’s most comprehensive and innovative university.

We’re inventing the future, and we’d love to show you how at our open house. For more information about our open house, visit, email, or call 540-231-2190.

18 7 2

Invent the Future

How Tech Ticks


Knot Apply

Far below the big-picture view of the grand enterprise that is Virginia Tech, the education of individual students moves forward incrementally. Sometimes the learning is tied up in knots. From various corners of campus, the people who know knots have much to share.


Knot: Clove-hitch knot Use: Mist nets The knot in action: In the College of Natural Resources and Environment’s (CNRE) Conservation Management Institute, Mike St. Germain deploys mist nets to capture and study birds and bats. To tighten the nets, he slides a clove-hitch knot (left) up the pole. “To increase tension, it’s simple geometry,” St. Germain said.



Knots: Double fisherman’s loop, overhand knot, Schwabisch knot Use: Arboriculture The knot in action: Elsewhere in CNRE, urban forestry students have their heads in the clouds—and rightly so. To inspect, research, and maintain trees, arborists need a bird’seye view. At the beginning of the semester, an arboriculture course (right) sent students into the trees with the help of a variety of knots. The overhand knot keeps the double fisherman’s loop from unrolling, while the Schwabisch knot provides rope-grabbing friction. Knot: Loblolly pine Use: In lumber, knots reduce the lumber’s grade and value. The knot in action: University Distinguished Professor Harold Burkhart developed a mathematical model of knot shape and volume in loblolly pine trees. Knowing the quantity, locations, and sizes of branches, the CNRE professor can estimate where the knots reside, thereby estimating the wood’s grade and value.


How Tech Ticks

Knot: Tom fool’s knot Use: Animal restraint, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine The knot in action: At a bovine restraint laboratory in late August, veterinary medicine students practiced casting cattle, or bringing them to the ground, using ropes and tom fool’s knots. The middle of a thick rope was draped across a cow’s neck; and the rope’s two ends were draped under the front legs, over the back, and underneath the hind legs. Then, the students pulled, four at a time, tug-of-war style, until the cow laid down. The tom’s fool knots are used to secure the front and rear limbs to a fixed object, which allows a veterinarian to perform surgery on the animal.

Knot: Slip knot Use: Crocheting—and now, architecture The knot in action: To learn the modeling software architects use, Alexander Worden (M.S. architecture ’11) taught himself to crochet. Why? No longer are architects modeling with tangible forms, but with computer-based, curvilinear forms that react to each other. While studying real forms, Worden found in a lace doily a physical example of how digital forms can warp without tearing. “As you pull [a crocheting piece] and stretch it, the knots reconfigure and transform into a different system.” He was immediately hooked, and is one of only a few people worldwide who have applied crocheting knots to architecture. One of Worden’s digital renderings appears at left.

Knots: Square knot, butterfly coil Use: Rappelling, Corps of Cadets The knot in action: In the Corps of Cadets, rappelling is all about the knots. A bowline knot anchors the end of the rope, a square knot (below) connects ropes of equal diameter while under tension, a two-loop figure-eight knot forms two adjustable fixed loops, and a butterfly coil (modeled by Landon Perez, a construction engineering and management major) readies the rope for carrying.

Go to to see a photo gallery of knots around campus.

Professor Profile

Sharon Johnson French Twist BY OLIVIA KASIK

alking into a room of students eagerly conversing in French about their first week of classes, the professor quickly joined the discussion. She moved excitedly around the classroom throughout the lesson, even fistpumping after a correct response. In the final minute of Associate Professor Sharon Johnson’s Advanced French for Business class on the Friday afternoon before the first weekend of the fall semester, students refrained from the normal rustling of papers and remained attuned to their professor’s last words. Johnson’s ability to engage her students is only one of the reasons she earned the university’s 2011 William E. Wine Award for excellence in teaching. Since joining the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in 1998, she has been an active member of the Virginia Tech community. In addition to serving on countless committees and participating in university workshops, seminars, and conferences, Johnson has been instrumental in the development of Tech’s French program. “Dr. Johnson’s passion for the French language and her deep concern for her students as individuals really pushed me to be the best student I could be during my last year at Virginia Tech,” said Lenise Phillips (French and English ’11), one of Johnson’s recent graduates. “I wanted to be a good student for her, make her proud of me, and ultimately somehow repay the favor she gave me the moment she became my professor and became so selflessly invested in my education.” After 31 years of teaching, Johnson knows that the secret to inspiring and engaging students lies in the balance of demanding their very best and genuinely caring for their success. “No student slips through the cracks once they are my student,” said Johnson. Johnson takes language instruction well past vocabulary lists and verb drills. In addition to guiding her students through the intricacies of the French language, she teaches courses on many of her research interests, including 19th- and 20th-century literature; gender studies; art history; literary, legal, and medical discourses; cross-cultural pedagogy; and business. The courses are designed to help students analyze complex cultural, societal, and psychological issues and make connections across disciplines. 12

Professor Profile

D’information Associate professor of French in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Career advisor for the Department of Foreign Languages and Litera tures, formerly the director of the undergraduate French program and coordinator of French graduate teaching assistants President of the board of directors for April 17 Inc., a service organi zation that offers Teach for Madame and Teach for Jaime, two after school programs to teach French and German to elementary school students Ph.D. and master’s degree in French literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison; bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College

Les honneurs William E. Wine Award, Virginia Tech, 2011 Diggs Teaching Scholar Award, Virginia Tech, 2004 University Exemplary Department Award for collaborations between the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and the Pamplin College of Business, 2003 Certificate of Teaching Excellence, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, 2002






In the spring 2011 semester, students in Johnson’s gender course voted to read a type of Japanese graphic novel called manga. In proposing one sub-genre of manga—“yaoi,” translated as “boy’s love”—Johnson explained to the class that they would explore alternative representations of gendered stereotypes and sexuality because the plots focused on love between two male androgynous characters. Together they would hypothesize as to why French female teenagers were devouring these stories and how they might be constructing the teens’ notions of love and desire. “The lesson on [manga] was quite interesting because it allowed us to see and analyze representations of gender in a context distinct from any other presented in the course,” said Michael Kozar (French and biochemistry ’11). “I found it really helpful to learn about gender using texts that were not purely academic.” Cross-cultural exchange is central to Johnson’s teaching philosophy. With French colleagues, she developed the Images, Myths, and Realities Across Cultures program, where, by analyzing images and texts pertaining to France and the United States, students shared ideas on selected themes and contemporary cultural issues. The director of Tech’s study-abroad program in Paris, Johnson was also influential in the creation of the French business program, a joint venture between the foreign languages department and Pamplin College of Business. Johnson was first exposed to the French language after watching a television show, “Chez Hélène,” as a child. Then, in second grade, Johnson’s elementary school introduced French into the curriculum. By age 14, she was determined to study abroad in France. She approached her parents with a heavily researched presentation of potential programs and then went on her first study-abroad experience to Strasbourg, France, the following year. During that first trip, Johnson recalls seeing two women, standing near their bicycles, speaking in French. The image impressed upon her that French, more than language confined to a classroom, is a way of life. The trip taught Johnson that the cultural and social experiences she had in her hometown of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., were not the norm worldwide. Johnson continued to visit France whenever possible, learning the joy of embracing her autonomy and taking pleasure in solitude. “France showed me a different way to be a teenager. It gave me a strength and internal fortitude. I feel indebted to France for a lot of my moral and psychological fiber, as well as my intellectual development,” Johnson said. Just as France encouraged her growth as an individual, Johnson’s enthusiasm is a source of inspiration for her students. “If it [weren’t] for [ Johnson], I probably would not have graduated with a B.A. in French and would not be pursuing the career I am now,” said Stephanie Dunstan (French and political science ’09), who dreams of working in international adoption focused in Africa, where her French skills may be put to good use. “It was her encouragement and passion that pushed me. … I know that many years down the road, she will be the professor that I credit for my successes.” Olivia Kasik, a senior majoring in professional writing and psychology with a minor in philosophy, is an intern with Virginia Tech Magazine. Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011



Phishing scams—where hackers ask for personal information such as passwords, birthdates, and social security numbers—have a better success rate than one might think. About 10 to 15 percent of people still respond to these scams, said Randy Marchany, information security officer in Virginia Tech’s Information Technology (IT) Security Office and a nationally recognized computer-security expert. Many users like to think that they’re safe, surfing the Web while shielded by anti-virus software. Most of us think we know the basics to protect ourselves from identity theft. We safeguard our ATM PINs and don’t download random files from strangers. But how safe are we, really? Campus experts shed light on what’s lurking in the dark recesses of the World Wide Web.

s. r password u o y d r a u G


ense,” said rst line of def fi r u yo is d r password, “Your passwor access to you s in ga r ke ac snce a h r has one pas Marchany. O online. If a use u yo stake. ew at n is e a eal of dat d t he or she is th ea gr a , ts iple accoun . One: Email word for mult asic concepts b w fe a es ss rs for their Marchany stre ever—ask use n t, ea p re — to conl never that ask you providers wil ls ai em e os a email. Th passwords vi it? Not legit. ord or change sw as plin College p r u yo firm ssor in the Pam fe ro p a r, ge at one of France Belan curity, said th se IT in g n zi one: writeciali is a low-tech of Business sp e ak m le p eo istakes p the biggest m notes. ords on sticky sw as p r ei th ing


Choose a strong password.

Marchany recommends that users change their passwords regularly, at least once a year. At Virginia Tech, password changes have become mandatory. All Techaccount users were required to change their passwords by July 1 and must continue to change them at least annually. “You’ll never make [the password] so that it’s uncrackable, but most programs are looking for the easiest ones they can get.” Marchany noted that a strong password will contain letters, numbers, and symbols. He encourages users to choose a phrase, composition title, or a line from a poem or to randomly string family and friends’ names together. Then, choose a syllable from each word in the phrase, and change a letter to a symbol or number: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” might become jump!nj@ckf1@sh.


Be aware is no longeof what information r ‘secret.’

Many people no w make so muc h information themselves pu blic and access about ible via social-n sites that com etworking mon and simpl e passwords, as questions—of well as secret ten used to co nfirm user iden a user forget hi ti ties should s or her passw ord—are thin between an ac ba rriers count and hack ers. Consider man y of these com mon answers to questions: mot “secret” her’s maiden na me, the name elementary scho of yo ur ol, your homet own, or your an Much of this in ni versary. formation is no w available on posted by you, Facebook, a family membe r, or a friend. “I post it on Face f you book, don’t mak e it your secret Marchany said question,” .


how much Be cautious aboutd with whom. data you share an

in Internet professor specializing lin mp Pa a r, ille H Janine society, people are increasingly connected law, noted that, in an out themselves. e away information ab giv to g llin wi re mo far e is that we just don’t recogniz “The one danger that tion,” added ma or giving away our inf we’re being numbed to to ed compromise ity expert. “We’re ask Belanger, the IT secur advantage.” For acy and convenience/ between security/priv n and addresses credit card informatio e sav n ca ers us , ple exam rchases and se of use for future pu ea g din ad s, ite bs we on retail . Belanger advises unts and special deals opportunities for disco tions, they can ber that, in some situa consumers to remem nvenience. choose security over co Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011



Install updates and patches regularly. software

Both Belanger and Marc hany agree that updatin g software on a regular ba sis is one of the best for ms of prevention. Indeed, you don’t even have to click on a link or download a file to ha ve your machine infected with viruses or malware. “A more popular metho d of infecting machines these days is for hackers to att ack the webcode for adver tisements on legitimate sites, ” said Marchany. A user visits a trusted website, such as The New York Times, bu t some of the information on tha t site is actually advertis em ents being pulled from adver tiser code. Hackers replac e legitimate ads with their own code, and the user’s mach ine is infected simply by viewi ng the page. Once on the machine, the virus or malware takes eff ect, recording keystrokes to cap ture usernames and passw ords or searching for credit car d or social security numb ers. The best prevention for these attacks, said Marc hany, is to keep all software up to date and download all patches, which will ensur e that any known vulnerab ility in a computer’s operatin g system or software is de alt with.

What happens if your data is compromised? Unfortunately, “There’s no magic legal button you can press,” Hiller said. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, and the Federal Trade Commission websites offer information for victims of identity theft. The three major credit-reporting agencies are also required to investigate any complaints by consumers of errors on their credit reports, she noted. Ultimately, the largest share of responsibility falls to the user to exercise caution on the Web, create passwords with care, judiciously share information, and be aware of the rapidly changing threats.

Wellness-centered living is about to get more refreshing.

The Village Center at Warm Hearth Village

Saltwater Swimming Pool • Community Room Performance Stage • Fitness Center • Café 16,300-square-foot community gathering space, currently under construction and scheduled to open in late 2012 Call us at (540) 552-9176 or visit

Warm Hearth Village is a non-profit, nonsectarian, senior living community in Blacksburg, Virginia. 16


Corps of Cadets

Corps of Cadets

Grows in Quantity and Quality BY RANDAL D. FULLHART

The university’s premier leadership development program is enjoying a resurgence in numbers at a time when the nation needs leaders of great character and competence. As the corps’ new commandant, I could not be more pleased with the support from other students, faculty, university leadership, and alumni. The incoming freshman class numbers some 383 students, bringing the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets (VTCC) to 949 cadets, the largest total since 1969. Beyond the traditional partnership with ROTC programs, much of the growth can be attributed to the large number of students who choose the civilian-leader track. The leadership minor that cadets complete in addition to their major is a big plus when they are seeking post-graduation employment. The corps is the university’s original “residence” experience program. Cadets reside together the entire four years while benefiting from myriad programs designed to enrich their education under the tutelage of a seasoned and dedicated staff. We provide a 24/7 leadership training experience to our cadets.

Looking to the future, university leadership has given a green light to replacing the corps residence halls, and a design competition will begin soon. The corps will re-occupy the Lane Hall area, consolidating the Rice Center for Leadership, the Corps Museum, and all facets of VTCC and its supporting elements under one roof. This re-imagined Upper Quad will be a showcase for Virginia Tech for decades to come. Examples of the power and value of the corps’ programs can be seen by the achievements of our cadets over the past year. David Brock (far left, above) commanded K Battery in the fall; led VPI Company, the civilian-leader track unit, in the spring; and won the Lacy O. Brumback Award as the best company commander in the corps. He graduated with a degree in materials science engineering and will go to Navy Officer Candidate School. Kasey Beernink (second from left) excelled as a member of the Highty-Tighties, earned a degree in chemistry, commissioned as an ensign, and was the first Virginia Tech female graduate selected for submarine duty by the U.S. Navy.

Micah Hafich (middle) commanded the regiment in the fall, earned a degree in mathematics and an Air Force commission, won an Air Force scholarship to graduate school, and was the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Award winner for exemplary leadership. Christina Devereux Forsythe (second from right) commanded A Company, this year’s Gold Cord unit; won the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Award for Leadership; earned the corps’ Ut Prosim Award for her exemplary leadership and strong performance at Marine Officer Candidate School; earned a degree in history; and is now a second lieutenant in the Marines. Ryan Anderson (far right) was the spring semester regimental commander, earned a degree in biology and an Air Force scholarship for medical school, and was chosen as Virginia Tech’s Undergraduate Man of the Year. By any measure, the Virginia Tech community can be proud of its corps. Maj. Gen. Randal D. Fullhart is the commandant of cadets at Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


At Jason Pall’s (geography ’06) Glade Road Growing farm in Blacksburg, Va., a new-old approach to food production is taking shape.

Food Comfort

A resurgence in local foods and urban gardening



Pall refers to it as “intercropping,” and while the term might sound 21st century, the idea is hardly new. Crops like buckwheat, a cover crop that improves soil health, border rows of summer squash, peppers, and tomatoes. Chickens in portable cages that Pall refers to as “chicken tractors” feast in the grassy areas between plots of various crops. Glade Road Growing is a vision: a small farm in a small town, a sign of a growing demand for locally produced food. The sight isn’t one of endless waves of grain, but rather an ecosystem of interconnected crops thriving in harmony. Fragrant flowers provide nectar, sustaining the predatory insects that will prey on “bad insects,” those that attack the vegetable plants. During a farm tour, Pall, who runs the farm with his wife, Sally Walker (biological systems engineering ’07, M.S. ’09), details the reasoning behind the setup of an already bountiful first-year farm. “We believe in diversifying,” Pall says. “It’s all one system, not just one-dimensional.” Using intercropping, Pall expects his yield, per square foot, to be three times what a large-scale farm can achieve. “The more land you manage, [the more you] cut down your quality.” He sells his produce at the Blacksburg Farmers Market and hopes someday to branch into home delivery using a pickup truck that’s been converted to electric. Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


Happy meals: Local foods are more than mere sustenance “The real interest spiked a couple years ago with the tomato and peanut-butter crises. People began wondering, ‘Where is my food coming from? What am I eating?’ And one way to know that is to seek out local growers … [to] buy directly from the producer, establish a relationship, and see the production process,” said Sheri Dorn, a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent in Roanoke, Va. The answer is simple, natural, and local—at least to hear Joel Salatin, of family-owned and -operated Polyface Farms, explain it. “As we have lengthened the chain of custody [of our food], we have increased opaqueness. As a result, we have a tremendous amount of corner-cutting—manure contamination, chemical use. Local food offers a transparency that’s impossible to obtain otherwise,” said Salatin, author of eight books about farming and food production. Farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) systems are the primary venues for purchasing local products, though natural and health foods stores or co-ops often stock locally produced goods. CSAs allow consumers to buy “shares” to a farm; in return, they receive a box or basket of produce each week. Such programs don’t just feed consumers. Eating local also stimulates a vibrant economy by retaining local dollars. “If each household in Virginia devoted $10 of their weekly budget to Virginia farm products, it would have a direct economic impact of $1.65 billion [per year],” noted Eric Bendfeldt, a community viability specialist with Virginia Cooperative 20

Extension. Bendfeldt added that it’s not simply local food that’s important. He encouraged consumers to buy food produced in the region instead of processed food, which travels an average of 1,500 miles. “A local food system is about four times as energy-efficient as a global system, but a regional food system is 17 times more energy-efficient than a global food system,” said Bendfeldt, citing research by Iowa State University and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. “Therefore, it is important to find a balance and know the context for local, regional, national, and global markets.” Having an abundance of fresh food readily accessible can mean good things for nutrition and the battle against obesity. Carmen Byker (Ph.D. human nutrition, foods, and exercise ’11) noted that simply having access to fresh produce fosters better nutrition. “Many times, farmers markets provide a greater proportion of fresh foods than processed foods. The customer is likely to find an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and dairy products. Baked goods are available too, but highly processed foods laden with chemicals are less likely to be available.” During her time at Tech, Byker served on the Blacksburg Farmers Market board of directors and started a program that provided fresh produce to the families of Head Start children. On a sunny afternoon at the Blacksburg market, a thriving microcosm of the new shape of food production, distribution, and consumption presents itself. Customers talk face-to-face with the people who grow their food. Vibrant rows of newly harvested zucchini and summer squash, containers of freshly picked peaches and blueberries, and made-from-scratch pastries await market-

goers. Behind each booth stands a food producer, ready to answer questions about farming methods, pesticide use, or freshness of produce. Vendors eagerly offer tips on anything from the best way to store or prepare produce to starting your own garden. And the tone is different from your average grocery store. No shoving of carts. Blue sky replaces metal ceilings and the glare of fluorescent lights. Small children indulge in newly purchased berries, their faces stained with the deep-purple juice. Occasionally, musicians ramp up the casual atmosphere. The scene is more of a social gathering than a shopping experience. “We’re bringing it back to the basics,” said Ellen Stewart, director for the Blacksburg Farmers Market, of the experience. “[People are] able to build a relationship of trust with the person producing [their] food.” The social atmosphere, the contributions to the local economy, and the accountability aren’t the only perks to eating local. There’s also what one might call the “fresh factor.” “We take pride in going to pick the fruit the night before the farmers market,” said Ron Holdren, a vendor at the Blacksburg market. “You’re not going to go to Kroger and find a peach that was picked the night before.” Many local farmers open their fields to consumers. More than growers, they are educators and entrepreneurs, continually studying and improving their methods. One might even call them trendsetters.

social justice and equity. By providing people in economically depressed areas with gardening space, urban gardens provide access to healthier food options. In some cities, vacant lots are being turned into community gardens. The effect isn’t just on nutrition, said Wendy Jacobson, an associate professor in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies who teaches courses that address a range of urban and community design topics. “When people get together to accomplish something like this, it’s a tremendous community-building experience, especially for lower-income areas where people, over time, can begin to feel isolated.” And the mere act of planting a seed and watching it grow can have a therapeutic effect. “Planting a garden, in and of itself, is an act of faith and optimism. It’s an active rather than a passive interaction with nature.”

The 21st-century ‘Victory Garden’: Urban gardening gains ground People are moving closer to their food sources as they try their own hand at growing. “Your backyard is a resource you can tap,” said Salatin, listing rain barrels, composting, companion planting, raised beds, and even chickens as ideas for utilizing a backyard. More than a hobby, urban gardening can nurture a sense of Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011



Virginia Tech experts offered some guidance for people interested in starting their own backyard or patio garden.

Start small. “It’s very easy to get overwhelmed,” cautioned Dorn. “Gardens are a lot of work. You put a lot of time and energy into it, especially when you’re first starting out.” For those thinking of starting a garden, fall, not spring, can be a great time to start your plan, according to Dorn. “Start with a soil test,” she said. “November is a great time to test your soil because soil-testing facilities don’t have as much demand.” If you find you need to adjust the soil’s pH level, applying lime or sulfur in the fall will give you six months for the changes to occur. In December, January, and February, seed catalogs come out, and it’s time to make a garden plan. Do your homework: Find out which plants grow well in the region, plan crop rotation, and look for cultivars that will provide insect and disease resistance. Then in the spring, you’ll be starting out on the right foot. Growers considering container gardening should buy patio or bush varieties of plants. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash can be grown in containers, along with greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, and many herbs, such as basil. Hanging baskets are also an option. Most of all, don’t be afraid of failure. “If there’s one thing I always say, it’s that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly the first time,” said Salatin. “At the end of the day, it’s a skill that’s worth learning. Don’t expect a bumper crop the first time.”

Don’t over- or under-fertilize. Over time, gardeners learn to tell when a plant has sufficient fertilizer, said Joyce Latimer, professor of horticulture. “Gardeners know when a plant is happy. There’s this green vibrancy. When a plant is not fertilized enough, it starts to look unhappy, with yellowing or lower-leaf death.” “It’s not as complicated as people make it,” Latimer said. “Always follow the guidelines. More is not better. In many cases, more is harmful.” You can also buy controlled-release fertilizers so you don’t have to remember to do it once a month. State Master Gardener Coordinator Dave Close cautioned against adding nitrogen-based fertilizer when a plant is close to producing fruit or ready to harvest. Adding fertilizer promotes root and leaf growth, and at this stage, the focus should be on fruit production. For backyard gardens, too, excess fertilizer can lead to runoff of phosphorous and nitrogen, polluting waterways. Experts also urge novice gardeners to keep in mind that their plants will likely be easily accessible to pets and children. 22

Generally, limit contact with treated plants until the application has dried. Read the product labels for specific warnings. Close also had some advice about pesticides. “The less pesticide you have to use, whether organic or conventional, the better it is, from a financial or environmental standpoint. It means that things are healthy on their own without additional help. You should just use [these products] as a last resort.”

Water frequently. Dorn offered a rule of thumb for determining if a plant needs to be watered. “One method of determining if your plants have enough water is to lift the pot, to know what it feels like when it’s fully watered. If it’s light the next time you lift it, you know you need to water it. If you can’t lift [the container], stick your fingers down in the soil, but that’s only a reasonable guess because the surface will dry more quickly and the roots are deeper.” Plants should be watered before they reach the wilting point. “If you don’t keep plants evenly watered, you can run into nutrition and plant health issues.” If gardeners want to ensure a bountiful harvest, watering plants consistently is the best bet.

At Glade Road Growing, it’s easy to imagine that the consumer’s relationship with food is taking on a new shape. “Is small farming or organic farming going to feed the world?” Pall asked, holding a tomato, picked mid-tour, in his hand. “Maybe one day. It’s one step.” Perhaps it’s not a new face, after all, but a throwback to a more holistic approach to the environment—working with the land, rather than against it. “Nonlocal sourcing is the tip of a huge severance that has broken down the connection between us and our umbilical,” said Salatin. Never before have so many people lacked a deep understanding of the way their food is grown and produced, he lamented. Pall puts it more directly. “Food is important,” he said. “Food is your medicine.”

Web extra Virginia residents: For tips on anything from gardening and plant care to soil testing, fertilization, and composting, or to contact a Master Gardener or your local Virginia Cooperative Extension agent, visit

Attention parents and guardians of future Hokies! Do you want to learn more about the undergraduate admissions process, key dates and deadlines, admission requirements, and much more?

Sign up today at

If you think our defense works hard, you’ll really enjoy our workforce.

For mo re

o the New River Valley , visit www a business t information about expanding or relocating . *

800.678.1734 | *

The New River Valley is the region around Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg, VA campus.

economic impact. food security. youth development. sustainability.

Virginia Cooperative Extension reaches all Virginians, whether they know it or not.

Carl Stafford (left), an Extension agricultural and natural resources agent, visits with dairy producer Terry Ingram about forage management strategies.




Virginia Cooperative Extension has assisted farmers and communities for the better part of a century, from the first demonstration farms and corn and tomato clubs of the early 1900s to the innovative educational and outreach programs of the 2000s. While a tough economy in recent years has spelled trouble for Extension programs in Virginia and elsewhere, the goals of the organization remain the same. “When Extension began nearly 100 years ago, its purpose was to help people take research developed at a university and other places and put it into practice on the land and in the home,” said Edwin Jones, director of Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Can we still do that today? I believe so.”


Virginia Cooperative Extension Director Edwin Jones speaks with agents at a pesticide training session in September.

An evolving mission Since the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, Virginia Cooperative Extension—a partnership of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University (VSU)—has grown to include a network of faculty at each university, 106 county and city offices, 12 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers. For decades, Extension focused its mission on helping farmers and addressing economic problems in the home, but now its reach extends to an array of economic, environmental, and social concerns. Recent decreases in federal and state public resources for Extension programs have caused administrators to rethink what programs are offered and how they are delivered. Even so, Jones (M.S. fisheries and wildlife ’79, Ph.D. ’83) said the organization has two advantages over other state agencies. First, Extension focuses on education, influencing behavior on, say, nutrition and obesity rather than addressing only the aftereffects. Second, Extension transfers research-based 26


Responding to renewed interest in food preservation, Extension implemented new programs for homeowners. Here, agents learn about canning techniques.

knowledge from land-grand universities directly to Virginia residents. Take, for example, the Virginia Potato Disease Advisory. Developed by Extension agents, the advisory relies on research at Extension sites to issue weekly bulletins sharing fungicide recommendations and information about potato diseases. In 2010, Eastern Shore potato growers saved $300,000 through reduced fungicide applications by using recommendations from the advisory. The issue is one of many that Extension agents have helped to address. From prevention of foodborne illnesses through food-safety training to leadership development through its 4-H programs, Extension has evolved to meet the needs of Virginians in the 21st century. [Editor’s note: For a look at Extension’s economic impact, see the sidebar on page 28.] Despite reaching more than 1.8 million Virginians in 2010, Extension has seen its one-on-one interactions with members of Virginia communities come into question and make headlines in recent years. In the four years from fiscal year 2008 to fiscal year 2012, Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station have seen a cumulative reduction of $10.3 million in state funds, or about 15.9 percent less than the 2008 amount. In fall 2010, Extension responded to a General Assembly request for a new strategic plan and a restructuring proposal to

reduce costs yet maintain a local presence throughout the commonwealth. By early 2011, as lawmakers and the university fielded public reaction, the organization withdrew its proposed restructuring plan. Extension leaders refocused on listening to stakeholders and partners and gathering input about how, with the current level of resources, Extension can best deliver high-impact programs that align with the needs of its clientele. Jones said Extension is searching for unique ways to increase its capacity, including collaborative training programs with other states and the use of new technology, while maintaining a visible presence in communities.

Pooling resources To address the decline in public resources, Virginia Cooperative Extension has taken new approaches and sought out partnerships to make its programs more effective. The organization’s four program areas—agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, and community viability— work in tandem to solve complex issues, such as protecting natural resources or promoting local foods. “To deliver the important, comprehensive programs needed to address the complex issues that we have, those program areas have to work together,” Jones said. “The local foods issue is a great

example because it cuts across all of our areas programmatically, from youth development to production agriculture, human nutrition, and community viability.” Extension professionals at both universities work statewide in order to provide seamless programming and services to meet the needs of Virginians, according to Jewel Hairston, interim dean for agriculture and the 1890 Extension administrator at VSU. “I’m proud of the excellent working relationship between Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, especially within Extension,” said Hairston. “VSU’s programs with limited-resource farmers and families, as well as our work [in] aquaculture, small ruminants, vegetables and small fruits, child and human development, family financial management, and [more] complement the work being done by Virginia Tech.” Nationwide, land-grant universities are working together and finding ways to support each other with programs and resources. “I think most land-grant universities across the country are facing similar challenges,” said Kirk Schulz (chemical engineering ’86, Ph.D. ’91), who, as president of Kansas State University, the land-grant institution in Kansas, has a unique perspective on K-State Research and Extension services. “Our audience and their needs are more diverse today, and overall budgets are being cut. Like

Mark Reiter, assistant professor of crop and soil and environmental sciences at the Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center, studies ways to improve soil and nutrient management.



The Virginia 4-H program includes science-related projects, such as a LEGO robotics project at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Center at Smith Mountain Lake.

Virginia Tech, as a land-grant university, generating knowledge that’s paired with outreach and engagement is a part of our heritage and mission at K-State. It’s something that’s very important to us and something we will continue to value.” Such heritage is as important as ever, Schulz said. “Helping people improve their lives with research-based knowledge won’t ever lose its relevancy. With the vast discoveries that researchers are finding, it’s important that we capitalize on the benefits of these findings by bringing them to the people and industries that can use them.” Whether partnering with large agricultural associations, such as the Virginia Agribusiness Council or the Virginia Farm Bureau, or educating local communities, Extension has the unique ability to bring together those from all sides of an issue. “Our greatest strength—and one that we do very, very well—is our ability to bring different perspectives from various audiences into discussions,” Jones explained. “We bring the latest information we have, without a stake in the issue.”

Training future leaders Perhaps nowhere is Extension’s dexterity in disseminating knowledge more visible than in its 4-H programs, which

teach youth about a wide range of issues, from agribusiness to public speaking, all while honing their skills as future leaders. “Virginia 4-H provides hands-on learning experiences for youth at all ages and addresses a number of societal issues, from raising the next generation of community and civic leaders, to teaching about nutrition and physical fitness as a way to address the growing problem of childhood obesity, to encouraging children and teens to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM] fields,” said Cathy Sutphin, associate director of Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 4-H youth development program. “Our programs not only change behaviors to ensure that Virginia’s youth are productive members of society who contribute to their local communities, but also increase their academic performances, therefore, their economic potential.” “The mission of 4-H is to build leaders and help them develop life skills. I believe that is exactly what 4-H has done for me,” said Brandon Pierce, now a Virginia Tech senior majoring in agricultural and applied economics and Spanish. Pierce has served on the Virginia 4-H Cabinet, including one year as president; on the National 4-H Planning ComVirginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


mittee; and as a camp staff member at the Airfield 4-H Center. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different groups of people. I’ve been able to connect to and learn from each group. The knowledge that I’ve gained has helped me to better my skills working with people, consequently strengthening my leadership skills,” he added. Cameron Taylor, a Virginia Tech freshman economics major and president of the Virginia State 4-H cabinet, agreed. “4-H has, first off, taught me the proper way to lead. Power is not leadership; a leader may have power, but having power does not make a leader,” he said. Taylor credits 4-H with giving him the opportunity to talk to state legislators, university deans, and corporate officials—experiences that he said helped him grow as both an individual and as a leader.

Sharing knowledge When Extension agents first began offering their knowledge and expertise,

the country’s economic engine was agriculture, and the majority of its population lived in rural areas to work on the land. Today, farmers account for only 1 to 2 percent of the U.S. population, and more than half of Americans live in urban areas. Virginia is no different. New technologies and innovative approaches to production may have eliminated the need for a large farming population, but everyone still has a stake in agriculture, said Jones. Virginia Cooperative Extension invests its time and resources in all aspects of community food systems, whether showing a large agricultural operation in Southwest Virginia how to incorporate the latest integrated pest-management strategies, teaching Eastern Virginia residents how to grow their own community gardens, dealing with crop varieties or livestock programs, or addressing nutrition in schools and community centers. Every day, Extension agents are sharing knowledge, proving that the organi-

zation continues to fulfill a new version of an old mission: putting university knowledge and expertise into practice across the commonwealth. “The issues that the people of the commonwealth face are complex, and it behooves an organization like Extension to be involved in bringing a solution to those issues,” Jones said. “One of the great things about Cooperative Extension is that we are not an agency that gives out money, sets regulations, or enforces regulations. Instead, we help Virginians deal with issues, whether on the farm, in the home, or in the community.” Formerly a writer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Michael Sutphin (communication ’06) is now the VirginiaMaryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s public relations coordinator. To see a video on Extension, go to www.

An economic boost for the commonwealth Virginia Cooperative Extension continues to have a significant impact on the commonwealth’s economy. Here are a few examples of how Extension benefits citizens from across the commonwealth. • Extension’s strong agriculture and natural resources programs sustain the profitability of agricultural and forestry production—Virginia’s largest industry, with an annual economic impact of $55 billion—and protect the quality of Virginia’s land and water resources. • The Virginia Quality Assured Feeder Cattle Program has consistently given Virginia beef producers higher prices compared to traditional livestock sales. Cash receipts for program participants are higher than weekly market values, 28

creating an economic stimulus valued at more than $508,000 in 2010. • Extension agents developed the Virginia Potato Disease Advisory, which, in 2010, saved Eastern Shore potato growers $300,000 through reduced fungicide applications. • Thanks to Extension’s forage-based nutrition management planning program, farmers in the Piedmont region of Virginia now use poultry litter for fertilizer. Because poultry litter costs less than commercial fertilizer, farmers saved an average of $42 per acre on fertilizer over a three-year period. • Extension addresses emerging family and consumer sciences issues, such as obesity and diabetes, and their associated

costs. Virginia spent more than $1.6 billion on obesity-related problems in 2003—approximately 5.7 percent of the state’s total medical expenditures. • Foodborne illnesses cost Virginia up to $23 million annually. Last year, Extension agents trained more than 375 food handlers on food safety and foodborne disease prevention. • Virginia’s six 4-H educational centers, which provide hands-on educational experiences for more than 16,000 Virginia youth in summer and yearround camps, have a major impact on the commonwealth’s economy. Employing staff, purchasing food and supplies, and making capital improvements account for more than $6.3 million annually.

Virginia Tech

Won Fisticuffs, growing pains, and the Hokie way BY JULIET CRICHTON


Ch a

rles L.C. Minor


G en

. James H. Lane

characters Charles L.C. Minor, the first president

Gen. James H. Lane, commandant

of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (VAMC), was hired from Sewanee, where he had taught Latin and led the preparatory school. Earlier the president of Maryland Agricultural College, he held a master’s degree from the University of Virginia and a doctor of laws and had served as a combat officer in the Confederate Army, reaching the rank of captain. “A fine-looking, robust man [with] a reputation of being an athlete and an excellent boxer,” notes the late Col. Harry D. Temple (industrial engineering ’34) in “The Bugle’s Echo,” Minor had come to VAMC highly recommended by professional colleagues.

of cadets, had graduated second in his class at Virginia Military Institute, and earned a master’s degree at the University of Virginia and both a doctorate and a doctor of laws. Nicknamed “Gamecock,” he taught math and military tactics at his alma mater and then in Florida and North Carolina before entering the Civil War at its onset. Paroled in 1865 as a brigadier general, Lane had been wounded three times. Temple quotes a VAMC cadet describing the general as “a stern old disciplinarian [who] handled the cadets as if he were still fighting old Grant.”

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


ricultural and Mechanical College inia Ag , 1872 Virg

prologue: Land grant!! Upon Virginia’s 1870 readmission to the union, some two dozen schools jockeyed to become the warbattered state’s new land-grant institute of agricultural and mechanical arts. Competition for the funding, made available by the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862, was fierce; and legislative debate wore on for months, as it is wont to do, rankled by self-interests and conflicting ideologies. In early 1872, Virginia Gov. Gilbert C. Walker signed the bill allocating two-thirds of the state’s grant monies to the Preston and Olin Institute in Blacksburg. The Methodist-affiliated “seminary of learning,” which had fallen upon hard times, would be reorganized into VAMC—today’s Virginia Tech. Preston and Olin’s president, Thomas N. Conrad, who had fully expected to be appointed VAMC’s founding president, dealt with the oversight by launching a bitter campaign against the new school’s every move. As the editor of nearby Christiansburg’s Montgomery Messenger, he hounded VAMC administrators and board members alike, accusing them of partisanship and sectionalism at best, ignorance and incompetence at worst.


While other editors might have eschewed personal attacks for a more pragmatic assessment of the school’s programs and progress, it became evident that the entire affair pitted a state-college/state-control construct against a state-college/local-control one. In other words, the school’s growing pains were intense, if not historically significant. In his school history, “The First One Hundred Years,” Professor Emeritus Duncan Lyle Kinnear notes that VAMC had opened its doors without “any clear-cut organizational plan of administration which could be used as a guide by either the faculty or the board.” Naturally, such impetuousness invited chaos on the small campus. Faculty had a direct line to board members. Disputes arose over the school’s curriculum. Political loyalties ruffled the faculty ranks. And at an 1878 faculty meeting, the president punched the commandant of cadets. Thus a matter of public record played out in newspapers statewide, VAMC’s formative years hissed with dissension and discord better suited to Dickens or Dostoevsky.

scene 1: In this corner … Despite efforts to the contrary, VAMC continued to thrive, enrolling more than 250 cadets in just its fourth year and effectively outgrowing campus boarding facilities. Those cadets who lived off-campus, largely unattended, were prone to mischief, outgrowing the town’s patience in record time. Not only were cadets known to frequent a Main Street hotel that sold liquor, recurring acts of vandalism pointed to a student population gone wild. After sufficient complaints had been lodged by the townspeople, the school’s administration set about devising a course of action to control the cadets. In broadest terms, Minor and his cohort favored a more relaxed, civilian environment, whereas Lane and his supporters believed that a military college should in fact be a military college with all

the attendant routines and discipline, 24/7. From such structure would also come academic excellence, Lane maintained. Although the board of visitors approved a Minorsubmitted plan for administrative oversight of the school’s disciplinary procedures, faculty members, even those in Minor’s camp, balked at the newly introduced chain-of-command and responsibilities, preferring instead the complete autonomy they had enjoyed when no administrative guidelines had existed at all. Minor’s efforts as president notwithstanding, the pro-military faction continued to hold a solid line. No consensus for properly disciplining the young men could be reached; and in an already contentious climate, confrontation was imminent.

VAMC cadets, 1881

The Morrill Land Grant Act The 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act will be celebrated on July 2, 2012. Sponsored by Vermont Rep. Justin Smith Morrill and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, the bill that granted states public land based on the size of

their congressional delegations changed the educational landscape in the U.S. and funded the establishment of more than 70 schools to provide affordable, practical education. But the most powerful aspect of the Morrill Act was the commitment to support these schools.

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


scene 2: The one-two punch After two years of simmering dissension on campus, the rift between Minor and Lane widened irreparably when, in March 1878, Minor insisted that Lane oversee all cadet discipline instead of delegating authority to cadet officers. Lane immediately requested a faculty meeting during which he presented a volatile speech that Minor was compelled to describe in his August 1878 president’s report to the board of visitors: “Gen. Lane spoke at some length urging his view of the matter, exhibiting much excitement and heat, and using language discourteous to me. More than once he spoke of my seeking to set myself up as ‘the great I am of the College.’” Apparently exhibiting considerable restraint, Minor “said nothing touching the question under debate, but proposed a postponement.” Two days later, at Minor’s request, the faculty again met to seek a resolution of the issue. Minor’s report indicates that “Gen.

Lane again spoke at considerable length with similar excitement and heart.” Upon taking the floor for rebuttal, Minor was repeatedly interrupted by Lane, who refused to desist, despite being “ruled out of order” by the meeting’s chair. “The character of his interruptions,” Minor wrote about Lane, “may be judged from his words in answer to the presiding officer, very loudly and resentfully uttered: ‘Order, the devil, this is a question of veracity.’ He rose from his seat and advanced on me, and demanded with loud offensive and threatening tones and gestures, whether I meant to impeach his veracity.” Minor coolly responded to Lane that “if he would have it so, it must be so.” Then, Minor recounts, Lane “shook his fist in my face, grinding his teeth and crying aloud in rage and I struck him.” It was the punch heard ’round the state—and the public was fit to be tied.

VAMC faculty, 1877-78

scene 3: TKO In the wake of vehement demands made by local leaders, the county sheriff hauled Minor and Lane into court. According to Kinnear, “after an abundant supply of dirty college linen had been aired in public, both men were found guilty of disturbing the peace.” The board of visitors soon after announced a “dubious professional reconciliation” between the two men. If only on paper, Minor and Lane managed to play out a careful decorum, both expressing a willingness to put conflict behind them and proceed with the school’s best interests. Later at


a called meeting in August, the board received from Minor a full account of the fistfight, along with his most comprehensive assessment to date of the school’s programs and operations. Lane, incidentally, was never required to defend his actions. Undeterred, much of the state continued to call for Minor’s resignation. Bad press persisted, sometimes front-page, often erroneous. The school’s growing pains had become intolerably painful.


chanical College Agricultural & Me inia Blacksburg, Virg March 26th 1878 ne Gen. James H. La Virginia Tech , rg bu Blacks Dear Sir: s my profound re I write to expres It curred yesterday. gret for what oc the d le tt se un e to leav is not possible which to blame, about question who was ave to agree – to le we could not hope question ttlement of the to others the se er as d to go on togeth about reports, an ed. ty had not occurr if this difficul

ly, Yours respectful C. L. C. Minor

Va. A gr. & Mechl Black . Col sburg lege , Mar ch 30 Dr. C , 187 . L. 8 C. Mi nor Black sburg , Va. Dear Sir: Yours of th been e 26t hande h ins d m t. ha e b y my I hav s jus frien e t p revio bally d Dr. usly, , exp Ellze r i e n y. ssed membe writi to yo rs of ng & u and verthe F & Mec t acult he ot hl. C y of her ol. m leave the V y per a. Ag to ot f e c t r. h ers t willi quest he se ngnes ion a t s b t o l “to ut re ement I am ports of th w . i ” e l l ful a ing t nd co o con nscie tinue dutie ntiou the f s in s dis aitht h e charg in al V a . e of l off Agr. my i & c i M treat al in echl. terco you w Col. urse ith p & with roper you t offic o ial c ourte sy. Respe ctful ly, James

H. La ne

denouement With the appointment of Gen. Fitzhugh Lee to the VAMC Board of Visitors in early 1879, talk of recasting the school in a strict military model commenced full force. Not without support, Lee insisted that such a plan would correct “a defective organization of the college and an inefficient system of discipline” that had, it was agreed, caused student enrollment to plummet more than 60 percent, from 255 cadets in 1875-76 to 160 in 1878-79. A proposal for reorganization was prepared and released before Thanksgiving. Confident that Minor would find the military model objectionable, the board announced his removal from office before the year had ended. At the same time, political control of the state had shifted to a party hell-bent on dissipating the debt Virginia carried as a result of the war and the ensuing reconstruction. Called Readjusters, these politicians not only won control of the legislature, but also succeeded in electing a governor from their party. In keeping with the new face of state politics, a new board of visitors, Readjusters all, was appointed to serve

VAMC. The new president, John Lee Buchanan, promptly reorganized the college, notes Kinnear in his 1972 publication, “especially the military department, along lines which have survived to the present time.” Leaving Blacksburg, Minor settled in Winchester, Va., where he purchased Shenandoah Valley Academy, later teaching in Baltimore and at Episcopal High in Alexandria, Va. He died in 1903 in Albemarle County, Va. Lane, who would remain on as commandant of cadets through the next year, initiated changes in the military program to align it more closely with the program at Virginia Military Institute. In 1888, VAMC President Lunsford L. Lomax, a West Point graduate who had served the Confederacy as a major general, used a legislative appropriation to erect Barracks No. 1, now known as Lane Hall in a nod to the first commandant. The centerpiece of the Upper Quad, Lane Hall remains one of the oldest buildings on campus. Lane, who moved on to teach in Missouri and at Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, died in 1907.

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


epilogue The commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, today’s Virginia Tech educates more than 30,000 students annually, including cadets. Long healed from the black eye dispensed by its fighting founding fathers, the university remains committed to its land-grant mission of service and sharing knowledge. Revealing an institutional mettle likely ingrained at its core, the little

school in the wild Southwest took on change and flourished. One might even say Virginia Tech—and the Hokie Nation—earned the right to lean upon the trait that’s among its most valuable: that fighting spirit—minus the fists. Rommelyn Conde, a graduate assistant with Virginia Tech Magazine, contributed to this story.

The wild, wild Southwest Home to Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Virginia’s Montgomery County was destined to be scrappy. First settled in the mid-1700s by pioneers migrating west from the coast, the area later named Blacksburg offered good passage across the Allegheny Ridge, along with rolling expanses of fertile land and mountain springs.

Near the county’s center, Christiansburg became a noted stop along the Wilderness Road and claimed Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett among the local color. The town was also the site of Virginia’s first rifle duel, the bloodshed of which helped spur the 1810 passage of the Barbour Bill outlawing the practice.

Virginia Tech TRIUMPHS with Quicken Loans Quicken Loans is proud to partner with the prestigious Virginia Tech Alumni Association to offer you and your family a special $500 cash back offer when you close your mortgage with Quicken Loans.

Mortgage rates are at record lows for 2011. Why wait to buy or refinance? Plus, we can take you through the mortgage process in as little as 30 days! As a Virginia Tech Alumni, you deserve the best. This is why it’s so important to our team that we make this your best mortgage experience ever.

Get $500 cash back when you close your mortgage with Call Quicken Loans toll free at (888) 310-3152 today! Quicken Loans Inc. is a licensed mortgage lender. Arkansas – Quicken Loans Inc., 1050 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226, (888) 474-0404; Arizona – Quicken Loans Inc., 16425 North Pima, Suite 200, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, Mortgage Banker License #BK-0902939; California – Licensed by the Department of Corporations under California Residential Mortgage Lending Act; Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee (#11704) – 1050 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226; Colorado – Quicken Loans Inc., 1050 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226, (888) 474-0404; To check the license status of your mortgage broker, visit; Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee #4127 – Office of Banks and Real Estate, Mortgage Banking Division, 310 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 2130, Chicago, Illinois, 60604-4278, (312) 793-3000 1050 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226; Massachusetts – Quicken Loans Inc., Mortgage Lender License #ML-3030; Mississippi Registered Mortgage Company; New Hampshire – Licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department #6743MB; New Jersey – Quicken Loans Inc., 1050 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226, (888) 474-0404, Licensed Mortgage Banker – NJ Banking and Insurance Department; New York – Quicken Loans Inc., 1050 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226-1906, Licensed Mortgage Banker – N.Y.S. Banking Department; Oregon – Quicken Loans, Inc., License No ML-1387; Pennsylvania – Licensed as a first mortgage banker by the Department of Banking and licensed pursuant to the Pennsylvania Secondary Mortgage Loan Act; Rhode Island – Rhode Island Licensed Lender; Virginia – Licensed by Virginia State Corporation Commission, License # MC-1738; Texas – Quicken Loans, Inc., 1050 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226. Quicken Loans Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System Number 3030. Restrictions may apply. Equal Housing Lender. © 2000 - 2011 Quicken Loans Inc., All rights reserved. Lending services provided by Quicken Loans Inc., a subsidiary of Rock Holdings Inc. “Quicken Loans” is a registered service mark of Intuit Inc., used under license. Alumni will receive a check 2-4 weeks after closing in the amount of $500. This offer is only available to alumni who call (888) 310-3152 or go through the website. Valid on signed applications received before 12/31/11. Not valid with any other discount or promotion. Quicken Loans received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Primary Mortgage Origination StudySM. Study based on 3,401 total responses measuring 14 lenders and measures opinions of consumers who originated a new mortgage. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed in July-August 2010. Your experiences may vary. Visit


Living Pylons


Living pylons The majestic Pylons stood watch over you as a Virginia Tech student, and they still do. The names of the Pylons—Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership, Loyalty, Service, Sacrifice, Duty, and Ut Prosim (That I May Serve)—embody the values that members of the Hokie Nation hold in highest regard.

In a series of alumni-penned essays, we want to share with readers the stories from your diverse academic, personal, and professional backgrounds that express how you live out these values. To be considered, select a Pylon value, and send a 100-word abstract to

About the Pylons Although War Memorial Chapel, completed in 1960, was initially intended to honor Techmen killed in World War II, the names of alumni who have died in military conflicts beginning with World War I are now carved on the Pylons. On the upper level, the Memorial Court houses

the sculptured Indiana limestone Pylons. The four left Pylons were designed by Henry Kries; the right Pylons were designed by Charles Rudy. The lower level houses a 260-seat chapel. For more on the Pylons, visit

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


Living Pylons





Capt. George Flynn ’01 (left), who took a lunch-pail mindset to the Marines, chose to write about the Pylon value of service.

Why we


Lunch pail holds significance for Echo Company Marines BY GEORGE FLYNN ’01

I took command of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines on Nov. 8, 2010. The battalion is stationed in Camp Pendleton, Calif., and its nickname since the Vietnam War has been “The Magnificent Bastards.” About a year before assuming command of a company of Marines, I began looking for ways to inspire them and build a strong sense of pride for the unit. The one thing I kept coming back to was how [a] lunch pail serves to inspire not only the greatest defensive scheme in all of football but also everyone who knows what it means to be a Hokie. It certainly has inspired me. With the lunch-pail idea in mind, I went on eBay and ordered an antique lunch pail and, when I had a chance to visit Virginia Tech in the spring of 2010, walked onto the Drillfield and put some grass inside, just to give the pail a piece of home. The lunch pail then sat on a shelf in my garage, waiting in the postal box in which it had been delivered. 38

• B R OT H E R H O O D • S AC R I F I C E • D U T Y • LOYA LT Y

The weekend after taking command, I took the lunch pail out of the box, spraypainted it black, painted “Win” on the front and “Echo” on the back, and put a Marine Corps sticker on the side. During my first field-training exercise with the company, I carried it with me wherever I went; and when I was teaching a class or simply talking to the Marines, I made it a point to have the pail nearby. Eventually, Marines started asking, “Sir, what’s up with the lunchbox?” After correcting them a few times and making sure they understood that it was a lunch pail, I tossed out my idea. I told them all about Virginia Tech and the football team’s use of the lunch pail and how, after April 16, the names of the 32 victims were placed inside as remembrance. Based on that inspiration, I explained to the Marines that I wanted each of them to identify and truly understand what they are fighting for. I wanted to ensure that they took the time to truly grasp why they make the sacrifices that they make in the interest of serving this great country as U.S. Marines. My guidance was simple: Pick one thing with emotional significance and one that serves as an example of how great this country is. Each Marine would put a memento of both inside the lunch pail. One of them finally said, “Sir, it is kind of like you are asking us to put our hearts into that pail, and so in a way,

that lunch pail will signify the heartbeat of the company.” With that statement, my Marines took ownership of the lunch pail. They took ownership by putting interesting, personal, heartfelt statements of themselves and what they care about into the lunch pail. That lunch pail would come to house pictures of children, brothers, sisters, parents, friends, the American flag, and even some stories or descriptions of family traditions, favorite hangouts, or anecdotes that serve as an example of what it means to live in America. In January, the company was en route to Bridgeport, Calif., to conduct three weeks of cold-weather training in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. About halfway into our trip, the buses stopped to allow the Marines to buy some snacks at a local grocery store. While in the store, I noticed over and over again how many of the Marines could not move 10 feet down an aisle without someone approaching them and thanking them for their service. I thought to myself, “Put that in the lunch pail.” On my way out of the store, I watched as a gray minivan came to a screeching halt and two college-aged women jumped out and ran up to two of my 19-year-old lance corporals and asked if they could get their picture taken with them. After the women left, I walked up to the now-blushing Marines,

asked them about what just happened, and the response from one was classic: “Sir, can we put that in the lunch pail? ’Cause I would fight for that any day of the week!” Since then, every week I award the lunch pail to the platoon whose work ethic exemplifies the Marine Corps standards that I expect from the company. When that platoon is given the lunch pail, the Marines pick someone who best displays those traits, and it is his honor to carry the lunch pail to all company training. The Marine who carries the lunch pail places it with the company guidon (the scarlet and gold flag) whenever the company is training. As Marines join the company, they are required to identify the two things for which they are willing to fight. Echo Company is now known throughout the battalion as the blue-collar company that carries the lunch pail. And I think I have made a few additional Hokie fans in the process.

Living Pylons

Eventually, Marines started asking, “Sir, what’s up with the lunchbox?”

Stationed in Camp Pendleton, Calif., Capt. George Flynn (business information technology ’01) is currently deployed to Afghanistan and has deployed three times previously in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011




Alumnus Profile


Alumnus builds a city in the hills of Palestine


Building a city from scratch is no easy task, but Bashar Masri (chemical engineering ’83) remains undaunted. In 2010, Bayti Real Estate, of which Masri is managing director, broke ground on a new and ambitious project in Palestine: Rawabi, a planned city that, in eight years, is expected to be home to 40,000 residents. With a $1 billion budget, the private project is among the largest in Palestinian history. The city will cater to young professionals and families and will meet a crucial need for affordable housing. “We’re a nation of younger people,” said Masri, noting that 50 percent of the country’s population is below 21. From a police department and fire station to a pedestrian-


only town center that will bustle with retail and commercial enterprises to a performing arts center and cafés, Rawabi—a name that means “hills” in Arabic—represents the potential of prosperity for the nation. When Masri first conceptualized the idea in 2007, he faced skepticism from his senior staff and partners. “I threw the idea on the table, and they said, ‘You must be out of your mind.’” When staff members reminded Masri of the countless obstacles the project would face, he was undeterred. “I said, ‘Let’s go around the table and count them.’” The team counted a total of 102 challenges. Now two years into work on Rawabi, Masri and his team have overcome most of those obstacles.

Alumnus Profile

“I felt it was time to come back and start building the Palestinian foundation.” “It’s very hard for the private sector to establish a city anywhere in the world, let alone in a place like Palestine, where most of the West Bank is occupied by Israel,” said Masri. “There are a lot of difficult issues, but there are so many people from across the world who came out to help.” To date, the project has been featured by news organizations such as Time Magazine, New York Jewish Weekly, CNN, and Fox News. That a grand-scale project like Rawabi has come so far is no surprise. Masri has a long tradition of championing economic development in Palestine. A native Palestinian, Masri grew up in turbulent times; in 1978, he arrived in the U.S. After three semesters at Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Va., Masri set his sights on Virginia Tech because of the school’s strong program in his intended field. Like many potential students, he was even more impressed with the university once he visited Blacksburg. “It’s easy to fall in love with Virginia Tech once you visit the campus.” To those who knew him at Tech, Masri’s potential was already evident. “Although Bashar is strong technically, his true strength—and I believe his true love—lies in his people skills,” said Joel Walukas (chemical engineering ’83), a classmate and longtime friend of Masri’s. “Bashar was active in clubs and

political organizations on campus and often played the role of organizer. He was always ‘in the know’ as to what was going on.” After graduating, Masri landed a job with a Saudi Arabian company; management training in London preceded his work on new industrial projects in Saudi Arabia. In 1986, after a short stint overseeing production at a Saudi factory, Masri joined LMRC, a management consulting and lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. Though Masri started in a position focused on water and wastewater associations, he left in late 1993 as the company’s vice president. The Oslo agreement had been signed, and Masri had decided to return to his roots. “I felt it was time to come back and start building the Palestinian foundation,” he said. Today, Masri not only serves as general director and chairman of the board for Massar International, a company with 15 subsidiaries, including Bayti Real Estate, but he also runs a charitable organization that provides financial aid and Massar internships to promising young Palestinians. Masri also sponsors a number of business-development efforts. He founded an organization that offers seed funds of up to $30,000 to budding entrepreneurs and offers training in how to run a small business. Additionally, he helped establish Palestine’s first private equity fund. Founded this year, Siraj—which


Below: A digital rendering of Rawabi, which, in eight years, is expected to be home to 40,000 residents.

Alumus Profile

When completed, Rawabi will include a pedestrian-only town center, affordable housing for residents, and numerous spaces for retail and commercial enterprises.

means “oil lamp,” symbolic of its focus on technology—has already raised $63 million, and Masri expects the fund to top $80 million in October, including plenty of capital from foreign investors. “To someone in the U.S., these figures may look small,” said Masri, “but for Palestine, these are huge figures.” Led by a management team that includes a number of PalestinianAmericans, the fund is already making its first investments. He said his Hokie roots have had a lasting impact on his approach to business. “After I graduated, I realized how much my education meant. As an engineer, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You could use best practices and implement them. I’ve learned a way of thinking, a process of thinking that was very important.” The Virginia Tech experience, particularly as a member of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, also taught him leadership and service, he said. Now Masri is mixing together his passions, his skills, and his resources, providing opportunities for others and thinking on a grander scale. “Anyone who knew Bashar [as a student] would remember him as a passionate and tireless advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people,” Walukas said. “So it does not surprise me at all that Bashar would be pouring those same energies into creating the Rawabi community.”


Billion-dollar campaign to shape university for years to come BY ALBERT RABOTEAU

By some measures, The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future is over. The university officially closed the books on the $1 billion initiative on June 30. But in terms of impact, the effects of this eight-year fundraising campaign are only starting to be realized. For example, on July 5—just days after the university had stopped tallying donations toward a total it will formally announce Nov. 12—Virginia Tech opened a new Visitor and Undergraduate Admissions Center partly financed with donations made during the campaign. Four weeks after campaign-counting stopped, multiple students from Chesapeake, Va., were notified that they would get scholarships of more than $5,000 apiece for their senior year at Tech, thanks to a $1.29 million fund endowed during the campaign. Over the coming months, years, and even decades, many more such examples will arise to demonstrate how the recently ended campaign is still helping Virginia Tech and those it serves. Rae Goldsmith, vice president of advancement resources for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, an international association of educational institutions, said campaigns have an important long-term impact on institutions. “Campaigns help build your long-term donor base, and that’s going to serve any institution well for many years,” Goldsmith said. “Many donors make bequests or give in some other way that defers gifts to a future point. And many gifts are endowed.” Money from endowed gifts is invested. Because endowment earnings are spent and principal remains untouched, these gifts continue to provide funds, year in, year out, with no end date. 44

Endowments ensure the future During the campaign, donors created 826 new endowments at Virginia Tech. Of those, 563 were arranged to fund scholarships. One such endowment created the Harry Bramhall Gilbert Meritorious Scholarship, which was issued for the first time this year and is expected to help dozens of graduates from the Chesapeake Public School division every year from now on. Aspiring pediatrician Ying Chen (biology ’12) was one of the recipients. She became interested in medicine as a young girl while serving as translator for her parents whenever they took her younger brother to doctor appointments. “I knew even when I was a little girl that whatever profession I did [pursue], I would want to help people,” Chen said. “Now that I’ve been awarded this scholarship, I do plan to save even more money for medical school because, as we all know, medical school really does run your finances into the ground.”

Funding promising faculty Sixty-two new endowment funds from the campaign were crafted to help faculty members. These funds created named professorships or fellowships, set aside resources for specific research, or established faculty awards. Among those endowments was the Blackwood Junior Faculty Fellowship, created in 2006 by Mary (psychology ’73) and Willis (business administration ’72) Blackwood of Midlothian, Va., and first awarded in 2010 to Assistant Professor of Chemistry Webster Santos. Santos heads a research group seeking to develop drug compounds able to disrupt the progression of diseases such as HIV/


sions Center, the Class of 1958 gates installed at Prices Fork Road and West Campus Drive, and the Center for the Arts under construction at the corner of North Main Street and Alumni Mall. AIDS and cancer. He is the first in what will be a long line of faculty members to benefit from this fellowship. “I want to be able to use my organic chemistry knowledge to solve problems in medicine—in reality,” Santos said. “At the end of the day, I really want to be able to make a therapeutic drug.” In keeping with his goal of creating treatments that are put to use, Santos is helping start Bringing Science to Market, a science-based entrepreneurial program being organized by Virginia Tech’s College of Science and Pamplin College of Business. One of the program’s first phases will begin this spring, when Santos and Professor of Biological Sciences Joseph Falkinham co-teach a course called Drugs, Germs, and Entrepreneurship. Money from the Blackwood Fellowship has already helped Santos travel to conferences and develop his expertise in the entrepreneurial side of drug development. Endowments are not the only permanent benefits of a campaign. Campaigns help reshape campuses through capital projects, such as new buildings, renovations, or other improvements. Tech’s recent campaign was no exception, coinciding with a period of extensive campus construction. Private donations made during the campaign have helped with projects including the Visitor and Undergraduate Admis-

A billion-dollar milestone Announcing a $1 billion campaign goal was a milestone for Virginia Tech, reflecting a new level of ambition for an institution that had raised $337 million in its prior campaign. The announcement also put the university into a fairly exclusive club. Thirty-six U.S. colleges or universities were engaged in campaigns of $1 billion or more as of November 2010, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. So when the most recent campaign total is disclosed, it will be a historic moment for Virginia Tech. It just won’t be the final story on what the campaign means. “Campaigns are less about the dollar goal than they are about what all these donations do to move the institution forward,” said Goldsmith. “It’s about what good is done for students, for research, for all the things that are important to an institution like Virginia Tech.” Albert Raboteau is a writer for University Development. *Council for Advancement and Support of Education Vice President of Advancement Resources Rae Goldsmith **Chronicle of Higher Education

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011




Like all seniors majoring in aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech, Victor Zamora will log many hours on a design project this school year. Unlike many of his classmates, the Mount Airy, N.C., native also benefited from similar experiences as a freshman, sophomore, and junior. Throughout his college career, Zamora has participated on Virginia Tech teams in the Design Build Fly (DBF) competition, tackling a newly unveiled challenge each August. Last year’s task was to build an unmanned aerial vehicle that could fit into carry-on luggage and fulfill military demands, such as being able to carry ammunition and medical supplies (simulated with metal bars and golf balls for the contest). In April, Zamora’s team placed 19th out of the 82 teams that flew their vehicles in Tucson, Ariz. Virginia Tech’s other team finished 45th. Though he didn’t get a trophy, Zamora said he learned a great deal from the experience. “It strengthened me as an engineer in the sense that I now have a much greater … skill set, and I also understand the material [from class] in a much more practical way. That is an advantage you can only have by being involved in flying an aircraft.” Michael Philen, an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and a faculty advisor to the team, also cited the educational benefits of participating.

Virginia Tech’s Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations helps develop partnerships between industry and the university that can benefit many projects, including student design teams. Visit www. to learn more.

“DBF is such a great experience for the students,” he said. “It provides them with a real, hands-on experience that [they] normally would not get in the classroom.” DBF was one of several engineering teams that provided Virginia Tech students an extracurricular opportunity to put knowledge into practice last year. Like the university’s other such teams—including one that won the U.S. Department of Energy’s EcoCar competition in June and another that won the international RoboCup robotics competition in July—the DBF team depends on corporate support to compete effectively. Companies that have sponsored the team in recent years include Lockheed Martin, MicroTech, SolidWorks, and Futaba Corp. Supporting design teams like the ones at Virginia Tech is a way for companies to help prepare a future generation of workers. The partnerships also give companies an inside recruiting track. William Mason, an emeritus professor who advised the university’s DBF team for many years, said members have gone on to work for some of the industry’s leading companies. And some have stayed involved in the contest as judges, “which makes them good contacts for [finding] a job,” he said. By bridging the gap between the classroom and the field, such contests not only put theory into practice, but also create a vital connection between young engineers and companies in search of budding talent. Albert Raboteau is a writer for University Development.



new way

to show your

Hokie Pride!

Your Virginia Tech Alumni Banking partner is StellarOne Bank, one of Virginia’s strongest regional banks. We stand ready to serve the over 212,000

alumni banking Get VT Alumni Banking Checking

Virginia Tech alumni. Find out more! Go to ...

Enjoy an Alumni-only checking account and the chance to receive preferred CD and loan rates while providing financial support to Virginia Tech! Switch to Virginia Tech Alumni Checking with just one call!

855-VTHOKIE • 855-VTHOKIE (855.884.6543)




Let your neighbors know who you’re pulling for!

Order Yours Today! 276-579-7733

Show your spirit with this collegiate, evergreen wreath on your front door.


Patented & licensed by: Carolina Fraser Fir Company, LLC 2617 Potato Creek Road Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363


es ki


SPIRIT LETTERS™ are available exclusively through Carolina Fraser Fir Company, LLC.



Alumni Association News


For the Alumni Association, the 2010-11 academic year was perhaps our best yet in engaging alumni. More than 25,000 alumni participated in programs on campus or through our alumni chapter network and other on-campus events, resulting in a banner year for participation. Young alumni showed growing interest in chapter events, homecomings, and reunions, proving that the tradition of staying involved in the Hokie Nation remains strong. The new Drillfield Series events were successful, centered on themes designed to attract alumni back to campus for special weekend experiences. Four more Drillfield programs are planned in 2012. Another new initiative emphasized career resources and job networking for alumni. In an effort to engage alumni, we created more services, programs, and events than in any year in our past—and that effort paid off. While celebrating the Alumni Association’s 135 years of service, we paused to reflect on how our association has evolved through the years and partnered with the university in so many ways. Thanks to all who made our work on behalf of the university so productive and rewarding. As you’ll see in our annual report on the next four pages, we truly are having a beneficial impact.

Vice President for Alumni Relations


Our Impact on the University

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011



Serving alumni

More than 25,000 alumni and friends attended constituency programs, special events, chapter events, and reunions on and off campus.



Alumni chapters

The Alumni Association has approximately 71 active chapters and 35 active clubs with a total of 582 volunteers. 731 chapter and club events were held, including 70 university speaker events as well as student/family picnics, community service activities, job fairs, and networking events. Many chapter volunteers supported the university’s legislative advocacy efforts at Hokie Day in Richmond. 62 chapters awarded 173 freshman scholarships totaling $197,550.

Reunions, homecomings, and special events More than 2,700 alumni attended class reunion weekends, college homecomings, a Corps of Cadets homecoming, a multicultural alumni reunion, and a Graduate School homecoming. 167 members of the classes of ’35 through ’60 attended the annual spring Old Guard reunion. Approximately 1,750 alumni and friends attended other special events, and more than 515 attended educational and special events, such as the Drillfield Series, Civil War Weekend, and A Day in the Life of College Admissions. More than 165 alumni and their families attended three Drillfield Series events. The new Drillfield Series consisted of themed weekend programs for alumni and their families. Program topics included fine dining, photography, science exploration, and Blacksburg’s annual Steppin’ Out summer festival.


(All figures reported are for 2010-11, unless otherwise noted.)


Alumni tours 19 group tours and 12 individual tours ushered a total of 200 Hokies to locations around the globe, including Italy, Switzerland, and several Mediterranean locations.


Alumni awards

Since 1972, more than 110 alumni have been honored by the association for achievements in their careers and service to the Alumni Association, Virginia Tech, and their communities (see awards summary, p. 52).

Holtzman Alumni Center Events held at the Holtzman Alumni Center and the Alumni Terrace included graduate fairs, an alumni open house during Homecoming weekend, a graduation celebration for seniors, a reception for graduating student leaders, and a wine festival. The Alumni Gallery provides space for receptions and features rotating art exhibits by alumni and local artists. The Alumni Museum attracts many visitors throughout the year. Thousands of alumni and students participated.

Alumni Association in print and online In addition to the Alumni Association section in each issue of Virginia Tech Magazine, the association continues to reach out to alumni through newsletter and event announcements, the association’s website, email communications, and social media sites, including Hokie Nation Network, Facebook, and Twitter.

Hokie Nation Network

Alumni Career Resources Designed to assist Hokies seeking employment or considering a career change, a new program was established to offer career resources and make them available on a central website ( The program includes job postings, interview and résumé tips, webinars and seminars, and a career resource library. Several webinars were conducted as part of the new “Tuesday Evening Career Chat” webinar series, in which guest speakers provide presentations on career-related topics.

2010-11 Alumni Association Annual Report


Celebrating faculty

Supporting students

The association recognizes Virginia Tech’s leading professors with its Faculty Excellence Awards for teaching, research, advising, outreach, and Extension, and for international education, outreach, and research (see awards summary, p. 52). The Alumni Distinguished Professor program recognizes and rewards exceptional teaching and scholarship; 10 faculty members hold appointments as Alumni Distinguished Professors.

The Student Alumni Associates organization, the cohesiveness of classes, and student transition programs engage students, strengthen lifelong loyalty to the university, and raise awareness of Alumni Association services for students and young alumni.

Virginia Tech faculty members regularly visit alumni chapters. Faculty and administrators speak at reunions, constituency homecomings, and other special events.

Engaging leadership Hokies for Higher Education, the legislative advocacy group for Virginia Tech, provides vocal backing on issues of importance to the university and to higher education by cultivating support among elected officials.


130 alumni and students, the highest number of participants to date, visited legislators at the 13th annual Hokie Day at the General Assembly. Alumni members of the General Assembly were also hosted at a breakfast in Richmond as the session opened. The members of the alumni board of directors are elected by the association’s active members and gather twice each year to advise on programming for the association, evaluate progress in accomplishing annual goals and strategies, ensure strong fiscal and administrative management, and develop future initiatives. The 135th anniversary celebration of the Alumni Association’s 1875 founding was attended by former board members who were invited back to campus last fall and inducted into the association’s new recognition society for past service on the board, the Gateway Society. Approximately 160 alumni chapter volunteers from 43 chapters attended the Chapter Officers Leadership Forum, which included workshops, networking opportunities, and a focus on engaging alumni across generations. Other chapter training opportunities on various topics were offered through webinars and teleconferences.



The association scholarship endowment of approximately $2 million provides annual support for University Honors students.



The 100th anniversary of the Virginia Tech class ring tradition was celebrated as the Class of 2011 dedicated their class gift, a large bronze Centennial Ring on display in the Squires Student Center atrium.


Embracing service: Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) The Hokie Nation Serves initiative encourages the commitment of service hours beyond normal obligations, especially during the month of April. The Ut Prosim Update provides news of community service projects involving alumni, students, faculty, and staff. 47 alumni chapters participated in 124 community service projects.


At the fall Chapter Officers Leadership Forum, chapter volunteers joined with local scholarship recipients to make blankets to benefit local children through Project Linus. Alumni volunteers and staff worked to clean up a public beach access park in Hollywood, Fla., prior to the Orange Bowl. The Alumni Association staff gathered for its first Relay for Life team, helping the university raise funds for the American Cancer Society. For the third year in a row, Virginia Tech’s Relay for Life was the nation’s top collegiate fundraising relay.



th Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


2010-11 Alumni Association Awards

ALUMNI AWARDS William H. Ruffner Medal John W. Bates III ’63


University Distinguished Achievement Award

Serena Ciparis, entomology Jacob Moore, engineering education

Alumni Distinguished Service Awards

Service Award

Betty P. Chao ’83

Sidney C. Smith Jr. ’63 John C. Watkins ’69

Graduate Alumni Achievement Award Kirk H. Schulz ’86, ’91


Brendan Brink-Halloran, planning, governance, and globalization Gregory Wilson, computer science (honorable mention)

OUTSTANDING RECENT ALUMNI AWARDS Graduates of the past 10 years are eligible.


George W. Norton, agricultural and applied economics

Undergraduate Academic Advising


Jack Evans, biological sciences


J. Michael Goatley, crop and soil environmental sciences Billie Jean Elmer, Surry County 4-H youth development Extension agent

International Education

Sedki M. Riad, electrical and computer engineering

International Outreach

Charles L. Taylor, political science

International Research

Richard E. Wokutch, management


Linda F. Tegarden, management

Outreach (Team Award)

Elizabeth T. Gilboy, Community Design Assistance Center Andrew McCoy, building construction


Naren Ramakrishnan, computer science Judy S. Riffle, chemistry


Richard Walker, biological sciences Jessica A. Folkart, foreign languages and literatures

William E. Wine Awards in Teaching

Randall S. Billingsley, finance Leo E. Piilonen, physics Sharon P. Johnson, foreign languages and literatures


Lire Ersado ’96, ’98, ’01, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Brandon Craft ’05, College of Architecture and Urban Studies Raheel S. Khan ’06, ’07, Pamplin College of Business Laurie McNeill ’00, College of Engineering Darin Oduyoye ’00, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Charisa Morris ’99, ’06, College of Natural Resources and Environment Brian Sutton ’01, College of Science Feihe Huang ’03, ’05, College of Science Maureen Noftsinger ’01, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine


CHAPTER AWARDS 2010-11 OUTSTANDING CHAPTER AWARDS Alleghany Highlands Annapolis Atlanta Augusta Baltimore Central Florida Central Pennsylvania Charlotte Chattanooga Chicago Cincinnati Coastal Carolina Columbia Dallas/Fort Worth Denver East Tennessee Emporia/Roanoke Rapids First State Franklin Co./Smith Mtn. Lake Fredericksburg Grand Strand/Myrtle Beach Houston Iowa Jacksonville Kentuckiana Knoxville Loudoun County

Middle Tennessee Minnesota National Capital Region N.C. Triad New Jersey New River Valley New York City Palmetto Patrick Henry Philadelphia Prince William Research Triangle Richmond Roanoke Valley Rockbridge San Antonio Seattle Shenandoah South Florida Southwest Virginia Tampa Bay The Villages Tri-Cities Western North Carolina Williamsburg

ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS Albuquerque Austin Danville Hilton Head Las Vegas New Orleans/ Baton Rouge

Bla Save th ck Ma Alum e Date rch n ! 15- i Reu n 18, 201 ion 2


Outstanding Alumni Admissions Program

Northeast Ohio Omaha Phoenix Pinehurst Pittsburgh San Diego

Houston Chapter

Outstanding Golf Tournament

Loudoun County Chapter, 21st Annual Golf Outing Shenandoah Chapter, 23rd Annual Greater Hokie Open

Outstanding Chapter Website Chicago Chapter

Outstanding Chapter Volunteer Ryan Ardigo, Prince William Chapter

Most Improved Chapters


Philadelphia Chapter San Diego Chapter

Outstanding Chapter Event

First State Chapter and Philadelphia Chapter, An Evening at Longwood Gardens

Outstanding Community Service Project Richmond Chapter, Hokies vs. Hoos Food Fight

Outstanding Fundraising Event

Charlotte Chapter, 2011 ACC Football Championship Tickets and Tailgate

Outstanding New Chapter The Villages Chapter

Outstanding Chapter Officers

Robert Eric McClellan, South Florida Chapter Joseph Riccio, Chicago Chapter

Hall of Fame, Outstanding Chapter Event Denver Chapter, Wine Tasting and Silent Auction

VOTE FOR YOUR COACH AND SCORE WITH SAVINGS. Liberty Mutual’s Coach of the Year Award celebrates college football coaches who best demonstrate the qualities of responsibility, integrity, and excellence. Four winning coaches each receive $20,000 for the school’s alumni association and $50,000 for the charity of his choice. So support your school and vote for your coach today! Did you know Liberty Mutual partners with more than 700 alumni associations to offer exclusive savings on auto and home insurance? Just by being a Virginia Tech alum, you could save hundreds of dollars on our quality coverage.* Show your school spirit! Visit to vote for Coach Frank Beamer—and see how much you could be saving on auto and home insurance!

Snap it and vote.

Get the free reader mobile app at

This organization receives financial support for allowing Liberty Mutual to offer this auto and home insurance program. *Savings available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. Coverage provided and underwritten by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA. ©2011 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


2012 Drillfield Series 2012 Drillfield Series Food for Thought: Exploring Virginia Hokie Fitness, Health, and Wellness Wine and Fine Cuisine

June 1-3, 2012 Stimulate your summer as you learn about Tech programs that focus on healthy lifestyles. Topics include fitness and nutrition, healthy cooking, child development, functional living, and more. Enjoy special access and demonstrations at our student fitness center, and join the VT Venture Out staff to explore the great outdoors around the New River Valley.

Feb. 3-5, 2012 Join us for elegant and informative presentations to learn about the wine industry, agriculture, tourism, and food and wine production from academic and industry experts. Stroll through tantalizing food stations, sample wine pairings, and dance the night away to the music of a live band—all while enjoying the beautiful Inn at Virginia Tech.

HokieCation: Family-fun Vacation, Hokie-style

Focus on Photography II May 2012, date to be announced Do you want to take better pictures, but aren’t sure where to start? Our experts can help! Take your photography to the next level while you discover and capture stunning sights on Tech’s campus. Topics include camera modes and functions, aperture and shutter speed, exposure, and lighting and composition. Sample some of the latest in camera equipment and technology. This follows our popular session in 2011.

July 5-8, 2012 Join this special opportunity for singles, couples, and families to enjoy outdoor adventures, campus tours, and demonstrations. Experience what it’s like to be a junior gardener, and tour the Hahn gardens. Learn about healthy nutrition for the whole family. Try out our recreational sports facilities. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Lane Stadium. Optional activities are available through the VT Venture Out program for canoeing, hiking, and biking.

Specially reduced housing rates at the Inn at Virginia Tech are available. More details and registration information appear on our website at

IMAGINE WHAT YOU COULD DO WITH YOUR SPECIAL SAVINGS ON AUTO INSURANCE. Order football season tickets, splurge on a gourmet meal, or contribute to your kid’s college fund…whatever moves you most. As a Virginia Tech alum, you could save up to $343.90* on your auto insurance with You could save even more by insuring your home as well. For more than 95 years, has been helping people live safer, more secure lives.



Client #8581



to your local office

This organization receives financial support for allowing Liberty Mutual to offer this auto and home insurance program. *Discounts are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. Savings figure based on a February 2011 sample of auto policyholder savings when comparing their former premium with those of Liberty Mutual’s group auto and home program. Individual premiums and savings will vary. Coverage provided and underwritten by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA. © 2011 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.


2012 Alumni Association travel tours

Life should be experienced and explored. Broaden your horizons and breathe in new adventures with other Hokies! Treasures of Costa Rica AHI Travel Feb. 27-March 10 | $3,895* Asian Explorations Go Next (Oceania Cruises) March 23-April 9 | $3,999* (air included)** Waterways and Canals of Holland and Belgium AHI Travel April 20-28 | $2,495* South Africa Go Next April 27-May 6 | $3,999* Optional Victoria Falls extension: $1,799 Living Abroad in Ecuador AHI Travel May 3-June 2 | $3,495* Historic Reflections~ Mediterranean Go Next (Oceania Cruises) May 25-June 5 | $3,299* (air included)**

European Mosaic Go Next (Oceania Cruises) June 16-27 | $3,999* (air included)** Waterways of Russia AHI Travel July 14-24 | $3,895* Best of Australia Continuum Education Travel July 14-24 | $3,500* Optional Fiji extension July 23-26 | $1,500*

India and Nepal AHI Travel Oct. 14-28 | $5,595* Aegean Marvels Go Next (Oceania Cruises) Oct. 31-Nov. 8 | $1,749* (air included)** Ancient Civilizations Go Next (Oceania Crusies) Nov. 4-15 | $2,799* (air included)**

Italy~Tuscany with Florence AHI Travel July 20-28 | $2,795* Scotland~Stirling AHI Travel Aug. 15-23 | $2,795* Italy~Apulia AHI Travel Sept. 4-12 | $2,395*

Costa Rica

Canada and New England: Fall Foliage Go Next (Oceania Cruises) Sept. 25-Oct. 7 | $3,999* (air included)**

* Dates and prices are subject to change. Pricing is based per person on double occupancy without air, except as noted. ** Free air is based from select North American gateway cities. For more information, call 540-231-6285 or email

Get your 2011 HokieZone T-shirt from the University Bookstore! HokieZone revenue helps support student programs and scholarships.

Ecuador Scotland

Book Notes


Editor’s note: Primarily because of the volume of submissions we receive, we have elected to adjust the format of Book Notes. Alongside a list of publications, one book is featured to the right. Submission guidelines, available online at www., remain the same. To submit a book, mail it to Book Notes, Virginia Tech Magazine, 105 Media Building, Blacksburg, VA 24061. You can also email a high-resolution cover image, along with your name, the name of the publisher, the genre, and a brief description of the book, to We must receive the book within one year of its publication date.

NONFICTION Critical/Reference Larry G. Aaron (biology ’68), “The Wreck of the Old 97,” historical reference, History Press. Jim Battle (mechanical engineering ’70), “Scriptures Alive! – How to Study the Bible,” reference, self-published. Bo Begole (Ph.D. computer science ’98), “Ubiquitous Computing for Business,” reference, Financial Times Press. Stephen Bloch (mathematics ’86), “Picturing Programs: An Introduction to Computer Programming,” textbook, College Publications. Mike Cadden (English ’86, elementary education ’87, M.A. ’89), editor, “Telling Children’s Stories: Narrative 56

Theory and Children’s Literature,” critical essays, University of Nebraska Press. Cadden also published “Ursula K. Le Guin Beyond Genre: Fiction for Children and Adults,” critical, Routledge. Christine Davis (communication ’79), “Death: The Beginning of a Relationship,” reference, ethnography of hospice organization, Hampton Press. Davis, et al., also published “Straight Talk about Communication Research Methods,” reference, KendallHunt Publishing. Richard D. Dickerson (economics ’69) and J.K. Harris, “Sales Flashpoint: Fifteen Strategies for Rapid-Fire Sales Growth,” reference, Entrepreneur Press. Evan S. Fiedler (biology ’90), “Come Run with Me,” ref-

erence, running/marathons, self-published. Mickey E. Gunter (M.S. geological sciences ’82, Ph.D. ’87), “Mineralogy and Optical Mineralogy,” textbook, Mineralogical Society of America. Belinda B. McFeeters (Ph.D. educational leadership and policy studies ’06) et al., editor, “The Leading Across Differences: Cases and Perspectives,” reference, social identity-based conflicts, Pfeiffer Publishing. William C. Ray (civil engineering ’65, M.S. ’66), “Mount Gilead History and Heritage,” historical reference, self-published. Leslie Schwindt-Bayer (political science ’96), “Political Power and Women’s Representation in Latin America,” critical, Oxford University Press. John D. Ross (Ph.D. curriculum and instruction ’99), “Online Professional Development: Design, Deliver, Succeed!,” reference, Corwin. Celie Brown Thomas (education ’75), “Manifesting the Kingdom: The Active Meditation Handbook,” reference, Wish Book Press.

Jeff Voivoda (management science ’89), “Data Analysis and Harmonization,” reference, iUniverse. Trenor Williams (biology ’92) and Anita Samarth, “Electronic Health Records for Dummies,” reference, Wiley Publishing.

Biography/Memoir Robert H. Crewdson (chemical engineering ’55), “Love and War: A Southern Soldier’s Struggle Between Love and Duty,” Civil War love letters, Mariner Publisher. Bainy Cyrus (horticulture ’85), “All Eyes: A Memoir of Deafness,” memoir, CreateSpace. Alexander DeVolpi (M.S. nuclear engineering physics ’57, Ph.D. ’67), “Lover, Soldier, Reprobate,” biography of Bonaventura Paul Weiss DeVolpi, CreateSpace. Thomas E. Dewan (business administration ’65), transcriber, “Red Raider Diary,” WWII diary of Merill Thomas Dewan, RoseDog Books. Michael James Gannon (nutrition and food science ’84), “If These Ears Could

Book Notes

Sing!: The Living Law of Attraction in Action,” memoir, deafness, DMF Publishing. Rachel Lark (architecture ’09), “Capacity for Delight,” memoir, online dating, CreateSpace. Charles Lytton (fisheries and wildlife ’75), “New River Bonnets, Apple Butter and Moonshine: The Raising of a Fat Little Boy,” memoir, Southwest Virginia, CreateSpace. M.B. Roberts (communication ’86) and Hilary Williams, “Sign of Life: A Story of Family, Tragedy, Music,

and Healing,” biography of daughter of Hank Williams Jr., Da Capo Press. LaVerne Thornton (mechanical engineering ’59), “Walk in ’e Moon,” memoir, Southern life, Chapel Hill Press Inc. Robert van Luyn (industrial engineering ’63), “From Lion to Eagle,” memoir, immigration, WWII, Pocahontas Press. Wendy K. Williamson (hotel, restaurant, and institutional management ’93), “I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar,”

memoir, mental illness, AuthorHouse.

science ’69), “Dreams of Hope,” novel, sports, CreateSpace.



Weston Cutter (M.F.A. ’09), “You’d Be Stranger, Too,” short stories, BlazeVOX Books. J. Robert DiFulgo (M.A. education ’83), “The Invisible Moon,” novel, Vietnam War, Athena Press. Beth Groundwater (software engineering ’83), “Deadly Currents,” mystery novel, first in series, Midnight Ink. Miller B. Jones (political

George A. Bowers (agricultural education ’86), “Valley Verses,” Lulu.

CHILDREN’S/TEEN Angie Smibert (biology ’85), “Memento Nora,” youngadult science fiction novel, Marshall Cavendish. Jenny Werner (interdisciplinary studies ’00), “My Padres Baseball Game,” picture book, Mascot Books.

Featured Author: John Wiley Jr., ‘Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind’ John Wiley Jr. (communication ’80) has assembled one of the world’s largest collections of Margaret Mitchell and “Gone with the Wind” memorabilia, including every American edition of the 1936 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and more than 800 international editions. He has been interviewed by NPR, Entertainment Weekly, and USA Today, among others. For almost 25 years, he has published a quarterly newsletter, The Scarlett Letter, for “Gone With the Wind” fans and collectors. This year, in conjunction with the book’s 75th anniversary, Wiley co-authored “Margaret Mitchell’s ‘Gone With the Wind’: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood.” The following excerpt discusses Mitchell’s reluctance to play the “celebrity game”: Whether Mitchell would be a celebrity, however, was not up to her. The public’s whim and fancy would make that determination, and from the way things were shaping up, it appeared she would be cast into that realm regardless of her desires. It was

a startling realization to Mitchell that she and her husband could not simply shut their door and be left alone. And, more distressing was that some people might take offense at their attempt to do so. ... But the author was no pushover. ... Reporters hounded her for interviews and photographs. ... Seeing no reason to have her private business on display for public consumption or to have her face appear in the newspapers several times a week, she declined countless requests. … Mitchell [turned down] offers from the Saturday Review of Literature, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Ladies Home Journal, among others, for her to write essays, articles, or short stories. … Mitchell also refused to write a sequel to “Gone With the Wind.” The public was enthralled by the book’s open ending and wanted to know if Scarlett and Rhett reunited. … A fan in North Carolina used rhyme to plead her case. She sent Mitchell a poem about the novel, with a final stanza: “Your style I considered most pleasing / You are wonderfully

clever I’d say / So please! Will you write us a sequel / To ‘Gone With the Wind’ some other day.” No matter how demanding or witty the entreaty, Mitchell could not be swayed. © 2011 by Taylor Trade Publishing Inc. All materials reprinted with author’s permission.

Touch the future.

Robert Hemm’s gift to Virginia Tech will touch the future – without touching his lifetime assets. Retirement from the world of business hasn’t slowed Class of 1950 alumnus Robert Hemm’s enthusiasm for the business of life as a pilot, photographer, and explorer. Bob’s beneficiary designation will support Pamplin College of Business with a gift from his retirement account after his lifetime. Discover how you can touch the future with a beneficiary designation, a gift through your will or trust, or even with a gift that pays you lifetime income. Whatever your circumstances, the Office of Gift Planning can help you find a gift that fits your life.

Contact the Office of Gift Planning Phone 800-533-1144 or 540-231-2813 Email Visit

18 7 2

VirginiaTech Invent the Future®

Class Notes


Alumni, we want to hear what you’ve been doing. Although we cannot print stories or obituaries, we can post online photographs of weddings, babies, and spirited alumni. Mail photos to Virginia Tech Magazine, 105A Media Building, Blacksburg, VA 24061, or email them to Please mail career, retirement, wedding, birth, and death notices to Alumni Notes, Virginia Tech Alumni Association, Holtzman Alumni Center, Blacksburg, VA 24061; send them via email to; or submit them online at Editor’s note: For privacy reasons, all mailing addresses may now be viewed online at by logging in with your Virginia Tech PID and password. For assistance, dial 540-231-6285. Attention 2001 graduates: In January 2012, the Schiffert Health Center will destroy the medical records of all 2001 graduates. If you would like a copy of your records, please contact Paula Robertson at 540-231-9430 or before Dec. 1.

’50s ’52 Jim F. Short (CHE), Dayton, Va., serves on the board of directors for the Hampton Roads Sanitation District. ’54 Paul M. Saunders (AGE), Piney River, Va., was inducted into the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Hall of Fame.

president of Nova Southeastern University. ’66 Thomas E. Watson (ME), Staunton, Va., is the president-elect of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. ’67 Michael G. Kelley (GEOL), College Station, Texas, earned his Ph.D. in history from Georgia State University.



A. Wayne Bennett (EE, EE ’63), Clemson, S.C., was honored as one of the 25 inaugural members of the University of Florida’s Electrical and Computer Engineering academy.

T. Nelson Keech (EM ’69), Winchester, Va., retired as chief engineer from the Naval Surface Warfare Center after 46 years of service and is now consulting for NTI Corporation.

James C. Graves (AGEC ’61), Toano, Va., was inducted into the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Hall of Fame.

Arthur K. Reilly (EE), Lakewood Ranch, Fla., is chair for the National Science Board’s Audit and Oversight Committee and has been appointed by the Internet Society to the Board of Directors of the Public Interest Registry.

’60s ’63 John W. Bates III (BAD), Richmond, Va., received the 2011 William H. Ruffner Medal in recognition of his loyal and enthusiastic support of the university. Joseph A. Knight (EE), Catharpin, Va., retired as senior associate at Zeta Associates Inc. ’64 George R. Webb (EM), Norfolk, Va., was conferred the professor emeritus title by the Christopher Newport University Board of Visitors. He retired June 1 after 38 years of service. ’65 George L. Hanbury II (PAD ’66), Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is

’69 M.P. Mizell (BC), Frederick, Md., received his 40-year achievement pin from Clark Construction.

’70s ’71 Clay B. Walker (BIOL, MICR ’72, MICR ’77), Gainesville, Fla., is associate dean for faculty affairs at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. ’72 A. Carole Pratt (BIOL), Dublin, Va., is a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow. ’73 C. Nelson Long Jr. (PSCI), Bedford, N.Y., received the 2010 Bill Strausbaugh Award

for distinguished efforts in mentoring and supporting improved employment conditions for PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association of America) professionals.

design director and Capital Improvements PLC for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.

Nicholas P. Marica (UA), Madison Heights, Va., received his master of arts in human services from Liberty University.

Deborah Martin Petrine (MGT), Hardy, Va., received the 2011 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Pamplin College of Business.


Mary Jane Saunders (HIST), McLean, Va., is general counsel of the Beer Institute.

John G. Kines Jr. (URBA), Disputanta, Va., was reappointed for a five-year term by Gov. Bob McDonnell to the Virginia Commission on Local Government. ’75 Marcus Alley (AGRN ’71, AGRN), Blacksburg, Va., was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Rosemary Carucci Goss (MHFD ’76), Blacksburg, Va., was named the Residential Property Management Advisory Board Professor by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. Lewis L. Lanier (BIOL), San Francisco, Calif., was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Mark Mamula (AOE), Haymarket, Va., is executive director, business development lead, tactical systems, at Aerojet.


’79 Jennifer N. Browne (ARCH), Philadelphia, Pa., is director of laboratory planning for the architecture firm of Francis Cauffman. William G. Ferrell Jr. (NSE), Clemson, S.C., was elected a fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Deborah L. Floyd (EDCC), Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was named 2011 Distinguished Teacher of the Year at Florida Atlantic University. Edwin J. Jones (FIW, FIW ’83), Blacksburg, Va., is associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Eric J. Shaw (PSYC), Newport, R.I., is a professor at the Naval War College.


’76 Michael G. Miller (AGEC), Richmond, Va., was inducted into the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Hall of Fame. Amanda VanPelt Scott (ELED), Roswell, Ga., is a volunteer missionary in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, working for the LAMB Institute. ’77 Maury S. Saunders (ARCH), Herndon, Va., is

’80 Christopher J. Colston (MKTG ’81), Oak Hill, Va., is president of James Doctor Press Inc. and publisher of the 2011 Hokie Football Annual. ’81 Brian J. Clark (FW), Georgetown, S.C., was selected as the 2011 Professor of the Year at Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

Paul J. Clarke (COMM), Sioux Falls, S.D., is chief building official for the Minnehaha County, S.D., government. Judy S. Riffle (CHEM), Blacksburg, Va., received the 2011 Alumni Award for Excellence in Research. R. Christopher Rosenthal (ACCT), Edgewater, Md., is secretary of The Baltimore Estate Planning Council. Winston Samuels (ANSC, ANSC ’83), Roanoke, Va., founder and president of Maxx Performance, opened a new research and manufacturing facility in Roanoke. The company produces microencapsulation and encapsulation technologies used by food and vitamin manufacturers. ’82 David W. Dunaway (HORT), Richmond, Va., is a horticulture technician for Virginia Cooperative Extension. ’83 Victor B. Calaman Jr. (MKTG), Richmond, Va., is the owner of Calaman Landscape Design LLC. Betty P. Chao (IEOR), Albuquerque, N.M., is the recipient of Tech’s 2011 University Distinguished Achievement Award. Billie Jean Poole Elmer (AGED), Waverly, Va., received the 2011 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension. Daniel J. Murray (AOE), Mill Creek, Wash., is chief engineer of electronics systems for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Mary Kathryn Burkey Owens (ENGL), Midlothian, Va., was recognized by Virginia Lawyers Media as a member of the 2011 class of Influential Women of Virginia.

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


Class Notes

’84 Chester M. Mummau (AGED), Wyalusing, Pa., is superintendent of the Wyalusing Area School District. Donna C. Ratcliffe (EDSP, EDSP ’88), Roanoke, Va., received the Distinguished Service Award from the Eastern Association of Colleges and is interim director of Virginia Tech Dining Services. Penelope A. Ribar Waugh (PSYC), Herndon, Va., launched, a website that offers healthy meal tips, monthly meal plans, recipes, grocery shopping lists, and advice on cancer-fighting foods. ’86 James B. Lackey (AOE), Leonardtown, Md., is the deputy director for air warfare, Office of the Secretary of Defense. Kirk H. Schulz (CHE, CHE ’91), Manhattan, Kan., president of Kansas State University, was the recipient of the 2011 Graduate Alumni Achievement Award. ’87 Theodore J. Faulkner (HRIM), Radford, Va., is senior associate director of Virginia Tech Dining Services. Timothy E. Long (CHEM), Blacksburg, Va., was named a Mark Scholar by the American Chemical Society for his leadership in the combined fields of polymer science and engineering and also received the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council 2011 Carl Dahlquist Award for his research relating to adhesive tape technology. Darrell G. Mottley (ESM, BAD ’94), Alexandria, Va., is president of the District of Columbia Bar. ’88 Elizabeth Truex Gilboy (LAR), Blacksburg, Va., received the 2011 Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence for team achievement.


Outstanding Superintendent by the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. ’89 Anita Vincent Cucchiaro (PSCI), Blacksburg, Va., earned her M.D. degree and is a resident physician for George Washington University Hospital’s anesthesiology program. Michael F. Little (BAD, BAD ’91), New York City, N.Y., was nominated to a committee chair role within the New York Society of Security Analysts.

’90s ’91 Sherry Bryan (ARCH), Memphis, Tenn., received the Francis Gassner Award from the Memphis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Thomas H. Cox (CE), La Plata, Md., is chief engineer and capital improvements business line coordinator for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. ’92 Keith F. Durkin (SOC, SOC ’96), Ada, Ohio, is editor-inchief of the International Journal of Sociological Research. John C. Henson (COMM), Roanoke, Va., is a creative director for Access Advertising & Public Relations. Kenneth K. Yoo (ECAS), Atlanta, Ga., is chief risk officer at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. ’93 Eric Cramer (BAD, BAD ’95), Woodstock, Ga., is senior portfolio manager for Buckhead Investment Partners of Atlanta. ’94

James M. Goatley (AGRN), Blacksburg, Va., received Tech’s 2011 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension.

Michael D. Hagge (ARCH ’95), Memphis, Tenn., received the Francis Gassner Award from the Memphis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and a Course Redesign Fellowship from the University of Memphis.

Roger N. Morris (MKED), Stuart, Va., was named

Nancy G. McGehee (SOC, SOC ’99), Blacksburg, Va.,

was named the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Junior Faculty Fellow of Hospitality Management by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Tracy Skidmore Woodhead (IS, FR), Woodbridge, Va., earned her master of arts in management and leadership from Webster University.

Michael M. Taylor (HIST), Leesburg, Va., is general counsel for Americom Government Services Inc.


Christopher J. Yianilos (PSCI), Alexandria, Va., was named an affiliate faculty member in Virginia Tech’s political science department and is director of the Hokies on Capitol Hill program. ’96 Michael F. Bianchin (ENGL), Matthews, N.C., is a cardiovascular account speciality sales manager with Eli Lilly. Nathan R. Butler (ARCH), Orlando, Fla., received the Nils M. Schweizer Community Service Award. Jesus E. Gomez (CE, CE ’00), West Chester, Pa., was named to the CE News Power List, which celebrates individuals who seek to elevate the civil engineering profession. Jennifer Carpenter West (PSCI), Chester, Va., is a shareholder and director of the law firm Spotts Fain PC in Richmond, Va. ’97 Duncan H. McPherson (ARCH), Asheville, N.C., is principal for Sansel Architects PA. Peter M. Sforza (BIOL, PPWS ’05), Blacksburg, Va., received Tech’s 2011 XCaliber Award for excellence in teaching with technology. ’98 Steven V. Coxon (ENGL, EDCI ’00), St. Louis, Mo., was the 2010 winner of the Joyce VanTassel-Baska Award for Excellence in Gifted Education. Jackson A. Evans (EDCI, EDCI ’09), Blacksburg, Va., received the university’s 2011 Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising. Shawn G. Talmadge (HNFE ’00), Glen Allen, Va., received the U.S. Army’s Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award for Outstanding Company Grade Officer for 2010.

William J. Wright (MKTG), Richmond, Va., earned his M.B.A. with a concentration in global business from Virginia Commonwealth University.

’04 Dina P. Bato (ACCT), IndiaMichael P. Giordano (PSCI), napolis, Ind., professed her first vows as a member of the Yorktown, Va., earned his juris doctorate from the UniSisters of Providence. versity of Richmond School of Law. Scott A. Postle (ME), Kernersville, N.C., is engineerStephen M. Jones (PSYC), ing manager for seating at Glen Allen, Va., received TIMCO Aerosystems LLC in his Ph.D. in depth psycholGreensboro, N.C. ogy from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Joyce A. Vest (EDVT), Pembroke, Va., received the 2011 Meredith B. Linkous Provost Award for Excellence (MKTG), Smyrna, Ga., is a in Advising. marketing manager for Yanmar America Corporation.


’00 Kenneth E. Proctor (ARCH), Baldwin, Md., is a registered architect in the State of Maryland.

Mari G. Oh (MKTG), Centreville, Va., received a distinguished leadership award from the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. ’05

Walton L. Dabney (PSCI), Indianapolis, Ind., earned his Michael S. Finnegan (PUA), juris doctorate from Indiana Fairfax, Va., is director of con- University, Indianapolis Law School. struction and development for Gumenick Properties. Lindsey McCulloch Kline (BSE), Knoxville, Tenn., is ’02 a research associate at the Center for Renewable John J. Charonko III Carbon at the University of (ESM, EM ’05, BMES ’09), Blacksburg, Va., received the Tennessee. Outstanding Paper Award Mike H. McCarthy (PSCI), in fluid mechanics from Arlington, Va., is a judge Measurement Science and advocate in the U.S. Marine Technology Journal. Corps and a special assistant U.S. attorney for the SouthHeidi Scheusner Leming ern District of California. (ELPS), Brunswick, Ga., is assistant vice president for Arash M. Sadighi (HIST), student life at the College of Vienna, Va., received his juris Coastal Georgia. doctorate from the University of Akron School of Law. Timothy B. Parent (ECON), Troy, Va., is sales and market- Lisa E. Steiner (HD), ing manager for Gumenick Wharton, N.J., earned her Properties. master’s degree in occupational therapy from Columbia ’03 University. Capt. Garrett A. Blakely ’06 (ACIS), Oceanside, Calif., received the Department of Scott V. Cramer (CE, CE Defense Air Medal with “V” ’08), Williamsburg, Va., is device from the U.S. Marine a staff engineer to the site Corps for his service in planning and engineering Afghanistan. team at Draper Aden Associates in Blacksburg, Va. Brian J. Daniels (BIT), Blacksburg, Va., is the associ- Lindsay T. Key (COMM), ate director of internal audit Radford, Va., is the communiat Virginia Tech. cations officer for Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech. Evan S. Mann (ARCH), New York, N.Y., started his own architecture firm, Evan Mann Michael S. Painter (BIOL), Blacksburg, Va., was named Architect. ’01

Class Notes

Outstanding Master’s Student for 2010-11 in Virginia Tech’s College of Science.


Graham T. Wasilition (MSE), Austin, Texas, is the founder and managing partner of Truth Spirits, which develops and imports artisinal liquor products.

’82 Timothy B. Trotman and Terri T. White, Chesapeake, Va., 8/28/10.

’07 Alexis B. Bozzo (IDST, PSCI), Knoxville, Tenn., is a research manager for Prince William County Department of Economic Development. Dustin D. Flannery (HNFE), Woodbury Heights, N.J., received his doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Andrew P. McCoy (BCSM), Blacksburg, Va., received the 2011 Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence for team achievement. Andrew J. McKinley (ARCH), Albuquerque, N.M., has earned his license to practice as an architect in the Commonwealth of Virginia. ’08 Leah G. Ferrebee (HORT), Virginia Beach, Va., as a Peace Corps volunteer, accompanied kids from the Rehoboth Children’s Home to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. ’09 Rosemary R. Patterson (MINE), Blacksburg, Va., is a fundraising participant who cycled across the country to support the mission of the 4K for Cancer.

’10s ’10 Susan L. Bland (COMM), Blacksburg, Va., is communications manager for the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. Amanda R. Daquila (HIST), Blacksburg, Va., received a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to teach English in Germany. Susan N. Perkins (HD), Boise, Ind., received the 2011 Outstanding Dissertation Award for her research on how clients influence the outcome of their counseling.

’93 Kelly W. Buechner and Patrick Buechner, Alexandria, Va., 5/13/11. ’97 Jennifer A. Wilson and ’00 William Junda, Leesburg, Va., 3/26/11. ’00 Lara K. Digan and Sean M. Garahan, Guttenberg, N.J., 10/9/10. ’01 Ashley G. DeLaney and ’04 Robert E. Thomas Jones, Arlington, Va., 10/16/10. ’03 Adam T. Breslin and Shannon Boyle, Philadelphia, Pa., 11/5/10. ’03 Aaron J. Horton and ’10 Megan L. Hill, WinstonSalem, N.C., 4/25/11. ’03 William R. Weinheimer and Eunice Lee, Falls Church, Va., 4/2/11. ’04 Jennifer M. Redmond and ’05 Steven Miller, Fairfax, Va., 8/28/10. ’04 Reed P. Quinn and ’05 Katherine Burke, South Riding, Va., 10/23/10. ’04 Eric M. Young and Katrina E. Goens, Richmond, Va., 4/2/11. ’05 Megan A. Stobart and ’06 Richard L. Gallagher, Philadelphia, Pa., 10/30/10. ’05 David K. Melick and ’07 Patricia S. Schultz, Centreville, Va., 5/1/10. ’06 Robert A. Carlton and ’07 Sarah A. Violette, Kingston, Pa., 1/29/11. ’06 Eric T. Panian and ’07 Kimberly A. Heitmann, Reston, Va., 6/19/10. ’07 Allison M. Jarnagin and ’07 Daniel R. Phipps, Blacksburg, Va., 6/18/11. ’07 Elizabeth T. Dail and ’08 Hunter Rawley, Sterling, Va., 7/30/10. ’07 Brian A. Rock and Olivia L. Sandown, Woodbridge, Va., 5/21/11. ’07 Lauren C. Caprio and ’07 Christopher D. Sedlak, Manassas, Va., 9/18/10.

Architecture alumnus plies his trade close to home BY CHAD O’KANE M.A. ’11

In his short but distinguished career, Ian Colburn (architecture ’03), a senior designer and project manager with Snøhetta, an international architectural firm headquartered in Norway, has had the opportunity to work on some dynamic projects. While based in Oslo, Colburn built study and presentation models for the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, a project that would go on to win the firm the Mies van der Rohe Award, an esteemed honor that recognizes excellence and innovation in conceptual and constructional terms. Now based in the firm’s New York City offices, Colburn is applying his talents to a project close to his roots. He started working on the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech toward the end of the design development phase and will continue through the project’s Ian Colburn ’03 completion, which is slated for mid-to-late 2013. “This provides an excellent opportunity to reconnect with Virginia Tech,” he said. Colburn and his colleagues at Snøhetta envision the center, which will be the most modern building on campus, as a bridge between Blacksburg and Virginia Tech. “The site is situated at a prime location between the campus and downtown, giving it the ability to become a Blacksburg focal point and regional magnet,” Colburn said. “We hope to enrich and blur the threshold between the campus and downtown and to collect a multitude of people in order to partake and interact in the arts.” Colburn’s love for construction and design dates back to his childhood in Colorado, where his family was involved in the industry. It was his time at Virginia Tech, however, that truly cultivated his passion for the craft. “The [architecture program] allows students the time, space, and freedom to explore, test, succeed, and fail,” Colburn said. “We essentially learned to teach ourselves. This skill, coupled with motivation, can take you anywhere.” Chad O’Kane (M.A. communication ’11) was a graduate assistant with Virginia Tech Magazine.

’08 Kevin R. Hoch and ’08 Lindsey T. Yann, Nashville, Tenn., 6/25/11.

Births and adoptions ’87 Lisa Marie Stout Hatcher, Alexandria, Va., a son and daughter, 2/10/11. ’87 Alexa E. Graffeo

Smith, Doylestown, Pa., a daughter, 7/15/10. ’91 Cindi Hurt Crawford, Mechanicsville, Va., a son, 3/23/11.

’93 Ronnie T. Burchett and ’01 Amy Morris Burchett, Christiansburg, Va., a son, 1/28/11.

’93 Eric D. App, Glen Allen, Va., a son, 11/7/10.

’94 Christopher J. Yianilos, Alexandria, Va., a daughter, 4/9/11.

’93 Catherine Guy Batchelor, Charlottesville, Va., a daughter, 3/19/11.

’94 Tracy Reynolds Zeleskey, Dallas, Texas, a daughter, 1/5/11.

Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


Class Notes

’96 John R. Pierce, Bokeelia, Fla., a son, 12/15/10. ’97 Kendall Taney Cummings and ’98 Nathan P. Cummings, Gaithersburg, Md., a son, 2/16/11. ’97 Sharon Trader Topp and ’99 Jeffrey M. Topp, Fairfax, Va., a son, 10/25/10. ’97 Paul B. Yaffe, Acworth, Ga., a daughter, 7/7/10.

’01 Yolanda J. Gimenez and ’02 Richard M. Ertel Jr., Alexandria, Va., a daughter, 4/1/11. ’01 Jenny Vogel Lipford, Lynchburg, Va., a daughter, 12/15/10. ’01 Amy Byrne Lipscomb and ’02 Jonathan D. Lipscomb, Temple, Texas, a daughter, 1/28/11.

’98 Kai Chung, Reston, Va., a daughter, 7/10/11.

’01 Benjamin A. Marshall, Ashburn, Va., a daughter, 12/10/10.

’98 Eric M. Fidler and ’98 Jayda B. Freibert, Richmond, Va., a son, 4/11/11.

’01 Paula David Monte, New Milford, Conn., a son, 1/12/11.

’98 Christopher S. Lawrence and ’98 Heather Gentry Lawrence, Vinton, Va., a son, 6/10/11.

’01 Heidi Ryan Patton and ’01 Michael F. Patton, Chester Springs, Pa., a son, 5/20/11.

’98 Michelle Carter Parks, Arlington, Va., a son, 9/17/10.

’01 Samantha Woods Scaman, Springfield, Va., a daughter, 2/16/11.

’99 Karen Hines Beyer, Atlanta, Ga., a daughter, 1/22/11.

’02 Jessica Bush Montgomery and ’03 Brian C. Montgomery, Princeton, N.J., a son, 3/25/11.

’99 Andrew D. Cather, Ashburn, Va., a son, 1/10/11.

’02 Brian E. Stuver and ’03 Kerry A. Lugar, Richmond, Va., a son, 1/13/11.

’99 Nathalie Neaves Croft and ’01 Lawrence M. Croft Jr., Richmond, Va., a daughter, 2/17/11.

’03 Monica Tiburzi Fulkerson, Charlotte, N.C., a son, 9/9/10.

’99 Scott A. Postle, Kernersville, N.C., a daughter, 4/23/11.

’03 Jonathan R. Mollerup and ’03 Lauren Cloyed Mollerup, Springfield, Va., a son, 2/9/11.

’00 David B. Carter and ’00 Andrea Guerra Carter, North Liberty, Ind., a daughter, 4/4/11.

’03 Lindsey Love H. Radack and ’05 Kevin P. Radack, Charlotte, N.C., a daughter, 6/21/11.

’00 Justin A. Chiarodo, Arlington, Va., a son, 4/26/11.

’04 Christopher Eicholtz, Ashburn, Va., a daughter, 2/12/11.

’00 David M. DeCerbo and ’01 Joanne Schissler DeCerbo, Fairfax, Va., a son, 3/25/11.

’04 Erin Brush Forys and ’06 Brent M. Forys, Toano, Va., a daughter, 6/13/11.

’00 Tamara Hayes Donohue and ’01 Brian R. Donohue, Oak Hill, Va., a son, 2/25/11. ’00 Matthew D. Lacy and ’03 Sally Miles Lacy, Plainview, Va., a daughter, 6/4/11. ’00 Jennifer Bridges Middleton and ’00 Russell K. Middleton, Glen Allen, Va., a daughter, 12/15/08 (adopted 9/20/10).


’00 Jessica R. Reed, Richmond, Va., a son, 5/25/11.

’05 Kristen N. Bondurant and ’05 Christopher P. Sloan, Appomattox, Va., a daughter, 7/31/10. ’06 Kourtney Ty Vaillancourt, Las Cruces, N.M., a son, 5/30/11. ’06 Jamie Bates Winfield and ’08 James D. Winfield, Bumpass, Va., a son, 4/2/10. ’07 Christine Bychowski Laffoon and ’08 Daniel R. Laffoon, Roanoke, Va., a son, 3/5/11.


’43 Edward H. Van Dorn, Cheyenne, Wyo., 4/21/11.

’48 William R. Lewis Jr., Parksley, Va., 6/29/11.

’44 Donald A. Caldwell, Portsmouth, N.H., 5/26/10.

’49 Paul H. Bame, Lodi, Calif., 12/12/10.

’44 Henry J. Dekker, Walkersville, Md., 6/13/11.

’49 Lee E. Dolan Jr., Winchester, Va., 6/16/11.

’44 Robert H. Levine, Boca Raton, Fla., 6/5/11.

’49 Hilda G. Partlow, Yardley, Pa., 5/22/11.

’44 Clarence R. Lockridge, Hampton, Va., 5/17/11.

’49 Thelmus G. Plummer Jr., Winston-Salem, N.C., 6/17/11.

’44 Elmer C. Westerman Jr., Fincastle, Va., 4/14/11. ’45 Randolph P. Cocke Jr., Newark, Del., 1/22/11.

’33 John W. Scholl, San Diego, Calif., 12/31/10.

’45 Posie L. Collins Jr., Bassett, Va., 6/16/11.

’34 William E. Eubank Jr., Shreveport, La., 9/3/10.

’45 F. Allen Gill, Columbia, S.C., 6/3/11.

’38 John R. Vorwerck, Cockeysville, Md., 1/18/11.

’45 Charles A. Harrison, Gastonia, N.C., 1/31/11.

’39 Leon D. Johnson III, Richmond, Va., 1/30/11.

’45 G.W. Lundy, McKeesport, Pa., 1/3/11.

’39 Francis A. Meyerhoeffer, Mount Crawford, Va., 12/31/10.

’45 George E. Wiley, Paducah, Ky., 4/19/11.

’39 James C. Rees, Henrico, Va., 4/26/11.

’45 Hal G. Worley, WinstonSalem, N.C., 4/4/11.

’40 Joseph H. Moore, Sun City West, Ariz., 5/6/11.

’46 S.H. Bibee, Lynchburg, Va., 5/22/11.

’41 Lewis R. Arrington, Clemson, S.C., 4/5/11.

’46 Robert P. Dickinson, Christiansburg, Va., 3/27/11.

’41 Mastin F. Osborne, Galax, Va., 9/14/10. ’41 Robert S. Radspinner, Blacksburg, Va., 1/28/11. ’41 James W. Thweatt, Richmond, Va., 4/16/11. ’41 Andrew W. Todd, Chatham, Va., 1/19/11.

’46 G. Robert Grubb, Purcellville, Va., 10/10/10. ’46 Norman B. Hodges Jr., Chesapeake, Va., 2/3/11. ’46 Robert B. Ratliff, Narrows, Va., 3/9/11.

’49 Nick Prillaman Jr., Martinsville, Va., 4/30/11. ’49 Lillian Thompson Samuelson, Schenectady, N.Y., 1/16/11. ’49 Curtis H. Shelton, Knoxville, Tenn., 4/20/11. ’49 E.D. Vassallo, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 5/19/11. ’50 Stanley C. Baker, Falls Church, Va., 1/27/11. ’50 Harold D. Caldwell, Richmond, Va., 1/29/11. ’50 H. Harold Dorton Sr., Salisbury, N.C., 4/20/11. ’50 Oren E. Hopkins Jr., Easton, Md., 5/8/11. ’50 William D. Knox, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif., 3/29/11. ’50 Norris F. Lee, Birmingham, Mich., 9/3/10. ’50 Charles F. Oliver Jr., Pensacola, Fla., 6/6/11. ’50 Herman H. Scott, Decatur, Ga., 4/22/11. ’50 Robert C. Steele Jr., Worcester, Mass., 4/16/11.

’42 Barbara Bradford Hall, Norfolk, Va., 12/23/10.

’46 A. Charles Seufer, Royersford, Pa., 5/20/11.

’42 Ralph V. Lawrence, Green Valley, Ariz., 2/11/11.

’47 H. Howard Surface Jr., Bowling Green, Ky., 6/1/11.

’42 Charles C. Smith Jr., Gloucester, Va., 1/22/11.

’47 William P. Terry Jr., Henrico, Va., 6/6/11.

’51 George L. Baker Jr., Berryville, Va.,1/28/11.

’04 Lindsay Potts Reames, Amelia Court House, Va., a son, 3/15/11.

’43 Frances Smith Craddock, Indianapolis, Ind., 4/23/11.

’47 Morton L. Wallerstein Jr., Elkins Park, Pa., 5/1/11.

’51 John A. Boole, Statesboro, Ga., 4/2/11.

’04 Ashleigh Gardner Volker and ’04 Daniel P. Volker, Kennesaw, Ga., a son, 4/26/11.

’43 C.T. Graves, Baltimore, Md., 4/10/11.

’48 John A. Baum, Virginia Beach, Va., 12/7/10.

’51 Alvin R. Denton, Bristol, Va., 4/24/11.

’43 Robert N. Jeffries, Chattanooga, Tenn., 1/26/11.

’48 Edward T. Brown, Richmond, Va., 1/26/11.

’51 John F. Downie, Roanoke, Va., 5/10/11.

’43 Henry S. Pittard, Altavista, Va., 6/12/11.

’48 Andrew M. Dreelin III, Midlothian, Va., 1/23/11.

’51 Estes B. Gibson, Martinsville, Va., 4/14/11.

’04 Brian Miletich and ’04 Melissa Carroll Miletich, Dupont, Wash., a daughter, 4/30/10.

’04 Sarah Stec Williams, Charleston, S.C., a daughter, 4/18/11.

’50 Carl A. Watkins Jr., Elyria, Ohio, 5/7/11. ’50 Archer E. Wright, Richmond, Va., 6/13/11.

Class Notes

’51 William M. Guthrie, Dublin, Va., 5/7/11.

’56 David E. Bass, Mechanicsvlle, Va., 4/22/11.

’51 Joseph T. Henley Jr., Crozet, Va., 5/27/11.

’56 Willard N. Dameron Jr., Fredericksburg, Va., 4/18/11.

’51 Thomas D. Irvin, Englewood, Colo., 4/16/11. ’51 Keith C. Jeffreys, Salem, Va., 4/29/11. ’51 Carl F. Krippendorf, Roanoke, Va., 6/2/11. ’51 Basil Manly III, Montgomery, Ala., 5/5/11. ’51 Harold B. Phillips, Raleigh, N.C., 1/13/11. ’51 O. Wade Yates Jr., Summerville, S.C., 4/29/11. ’52 C. Field Baskerville Jr., McKenney, Va., 1/19/11. ’52 William P. Burke, Hopewell, Va., 5/10/11. ’52 William J. Dickerson, Palmyra, Pa., 4/30/11. ’52 William L. Faison, Eden Prairie, Minn., 12/15/10.

’56 William F. Heer, Okatie, S.C., 5/23/11. ’56 Alfred I. Jones Jr., Manquin, Va., 5/10/11. ’56 Claude B. Nolen Jr., Rocky Mount, Va., 5/14/11. ’56 Reed J. Pierson Jr., York, Pa., 1/17/11. ’57 James R. Moore, Roanoke, Va., 6/22/11. ’57 Thomas B. Simmons, Staunton, Va., 1/30/11. ’57 Joe A. Zimmerman, Lakeway, Texas, 1/23/11. ’58 Carl S. Anderson Jr., Virginia Beach, Va., 7/23/10. ’58 Gordon C. Presley, Centennial, Colo., 2/11/11.

’52 Robert C. Gallagher, Sarasota, Fla., 6/6/11.

’58 George C. Stohlman, Tampa, Fla., 4/23/11.

’52 Carl R. Morris, Gloucester, Va., 1/17/11.

’59 W. Robert Gaines, Rapid City, S.D., 5/2/11.

’52 Lawrence P. Murray Jr., Hendersonville, Tenn., 4/14/11.

’59 H. Neal Garrett Jr., Hampton, Va., 10/20/10.

’52 Richard W. Stevens, Williamsburg, Va., 2/7/11. ’53 Northrop J. Butler, Richmond, Va., 1/26/11. ’53 Ralph L. Graham, Los Angeles, Calif., 5/26/11. ’53 George W. Jones, Richmond, Va., 7/3/10.

’59 Ralph P. Hines, Rice, Va., 4/27/11. ’59 Carvel W. Johnson Jr., Ruffin, N.C., 6/2/11. ’60 Massie W. Blankinship Jr., Brooklyn, N.Y., 3/29/11. ’60 Marvin E. White Jr., Enola, Pa., 1/19/11.

’61 L. Dean Blake II, Frank’53 Richard N. Pearman, St. fort, Ky., 6/5/11. Augustine, Fla., 11/11/10. ’61 Robert C. Garrett, Danville, Va., 6/12/11. ’53 Jeffrey R. Stewart Jr., Blacksburg, Va., 6/10/11. ’62 James R. Brabrand, ’54 Delmar L. Craft, Spring- West Point, Va., 4/17/11. field, Va., 4/21/11. ’62 John E. Clayton, Richmond, Va., 3/24/11. ’54 Harry Levy Jr., Richmond, Va., 1/20/11. ’62 William H. Fanning Jr., ’54 Kenneth W. Wilkinson, Roanoke, Va., 2/3/11. Greensboro, N.C., 5/17/11. ’62 Cecile A. Sutphin, Daw’55 Gene W. Barrett, sonville, Ga., 3/6/11. Manassas, Va., 4/11/10. ’63 Charles B. Dushane ’55 Kenneth R. Boerner, III, Lee’s Summit, Mo., Midlothian, Va., 5/27/11. 1/20/11.

Rogue Steel melds metalworking and theatre BY OLIVIA KASIK

As an actor often involved in stage combat, Neil Massey (theatre arts ’88) observed that the weaponry used on stage was either high quality and expensive or cheap and unreliable. In 1999, Massey decided to put his metalworking skills and knowledge of stage combat to good use, forging a stage weaponry business, Rogue Steel, now considered to be one of the best in the industry. Massey makes about 20 to 30 weapons per week and usually has a backlog of two to three months. Like a blacksmith, Massey crafts all of his weapons by hand with the exception of some blades, which he purchases from commercial manufacturers. Rogue Steel, in Brookfield, Ill., offers mainly European-style weapons, but Massey plans to expand into Eastern-style as well. Eleven years since startNeil Massey ’88, at left ing his business, Massey has established a strong reputation in the theatre community. Cara Rawlings, an assistant professor of movement and acting at Virginia Tech, considers Massey one of the best stage-weaponry makers in the world. Said Michael Hill-Kirkland, professor of theatre at Regent University and one of Rogue Steel’s clients, “Neil has struck an impressive balance between sturdy utilitarianism and a stage-worthy, aesthetically pleasing look—and at an economical price.” Massey’s clients are primarily schools and universities with a stage combat aspect to their program, but individual theaters and actors also turn to Rogue Steel. Massey’s weapons have even been used by actor John Malkovich. In addition to running a business, Massey teaches stage combat and fight choreography at Roosevelt University. He is a certified teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors, which he said helps him craft better swords. “I am one of the few swordmakers out there that actually uses them and teaches [people] how to use them on a regular basis,” said Massey. Massey first came to Virginia Tech with aspirations to become a mechanical engineer. However, theatre quickly moved from a hobby to a passion. “The more I learned about it, the more I realized it was a viable career choice, so I made the switch,” said Massey. “Being at Virginia Tech—learning about theatre and making connections—really laid out my career path.” Olivia Kasik, a senior majoring in professional writing and psychology with a minor in philosophy, is an intern with Virginia Tech Magazine. Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


Class Notes

Hokie brings blogging, Twitter to government IT As the federal government faces budget squeezes that will require more to be done with less, Mary (Burr) Davie’s (business finance, business management ’88) 22 years with the General Services Administration (GSA) give her a unique perspective on upcoming challenges and opportunities. Which is a large part of the reason—when combined with her gregariousness and pioneering expertise in using social media to make federal procurement more efficient—that Davie is now assistant commissioner for the GSA’s Office of Integrated Technology Services (ITS), making her responsible for the largest fee-for-service IT procurement and services operation in the U.S. government. She was also recently named president of the Mary Davie ’88 American Council of Technology, a nonprofit, public-private partnership dedicated to improving government through information technology. Her ITS office provides access to companies that offer IT and telecommunications products, services, and solutions to government entities. “By using our contracts and programs, other government entities can not only save time and money by not having to create new contracts, but they also have access to technical and acquisition experts,” Davie said. Two years ago, Davie joined others from the public and private sectors—including fellow Hokies Tom Suder (business management ’91) and Tim Harvey (communication ’92)—in forming the Better Buy Project to increase openness and reduce costs to the government and private sector. As a result, Davie has helped lead her department into the world of Twitter, blogs, and wikis. “I’m open and outgoing, and I saw this as an incredibly effective and potent way to be able to communicate broadly,” said Davie, who praises Tech for the quality and variety of educational programs, student life, and the diversity of students. “Every time I meet someone and we discover we’re both Hokies, there’s an instant connection and bond,” Davie said. “I’ve found this to be more true in the business world.”

Hokie Business SHOWCASE Advertise your business in Class Notes! Contact us at for rates and more information. Restricted to alumni-owned businesses. 64

’63 W. Thomas Quigley, Sylvania, Ohio, 4/9/11.

’69 James R. Stewart, Bradford, Pa., 1/21/11.

’63 Robert E. Shively, Troutville, Va., 4/6/11.

’70 Carol A. Amato, Richmond, Va., 6/1/11.

’64 J.T. Judkins Jr., Suffolk, Va., 5/23/11.

’70 Belle D. English, Bedford, Va., 1/26/11.

’64 Harold E. Little, Fincastle, Va., 6/21/11.

’70 Richard H. Moore, Arlington, Va., 1/6/11.

’64 Richard H. Seume Jr., Houston, Texas, 2/5/11.

’71 Charles W. Click, Monrovia, Md., 9/26/10.

’64 Richard L. Wyant, Wilmington, Del., 2/10/11.

’71 Joseph L. Cochran, Dublin, Va., 12/18/10.

’65 Gary N. Colehamer, Virginia Beach, Va., 5/3/11.

’71 John W. Matthews, Westminster, Md., 6/7/11.

’65 Willard T. Fields, Roanoke, Va., 5/17/11.

’71 C. Douglas Weeks, Roanoke, Va., 1/31/10.

’66 George R. Buchanan, Lebanon, Tenn., 5/29/11.

’72 Thomas G. Daley, Lawrenceville, Ga., 1/3/11.

’66 Richard F. Hamilton, Evergreen, Va., 8/28/10.

’72 Robert J. Miller Jr., Lynchburg, Va., 3/23/11.

’66 Donald Y. Kelsey Jr., Blacksburg, Va., 6/6/11.

’72 Eric G. Obye, Danville, Va., 4/25/11.

’66 Donald P. Pavell, Richmond, Va., 6/4/11. ’66 James L. Turner, Martinsville, Va., 6/9/11. ’67 Robert J. Cross, Woodbridge, Va., 5/3/11. ’67 Bruce R. Glenn, Morganton, N.C., 3/30/11.

’72 John R. Palffy, Strongsville, Ohio, 4/11/11. ’72 Roger C. Riner, Lynchburg, Va., 5/18/11. ’72 Philip D. Ruths, Arlington, Va., 4/11/11. ’73 Robin D. Kinser, Chesterfield, Va., 4/27/11.

’67 C.S. Menon, Frnakulam, India, 3/28/11.

’73 Cheryl Teague Smith, Hendersonville, N.C., 11/15/10.

’67 David T. Schwartz, Marion, Va., 4/26/11.

’73 Kenneth M. Swisher, Chesapeake, Va., 6/17/11.

’67 Philip E. Shelley, Las Vegas, Nev., 4/11/11.

’75 Wade E. Clement, Portsmouth, Va., 5/23/11.

’68 Ernest M. Monroe II, O’Fallon, Ill., 1/12/11.

’75 George L. East, Virginia Beach, Va., 5/11/11.

’68 Ronald H. Parks, Independence, Mo., 5/7/11.

’75 Cathryn Crow Gilmore, Tucson, Ariz., 6/16/11.

’68 Thomas B. Vigour, Winona, Miss., 6/11/11.

’75 Robert G. Kozan, Oakton, Va., 3/8/11.

’69 B.H. Bingham, Nampa, Ind., 12/19/10.

’75 Robert H. Stewart, San Francisco, Calif., 9/21/10.

’69 John W. Bryant III, Richmond, Va., 5/18/11.

’76 Peter L. Howes, Virginia Beach, Va., 12/4/10.

’69 T.F. English Jr., Richmond, Va., 6/2/11.

’76 Stephen W. Liskey, Landisville, Pa., 6/11/11.

’69 Robert G. Hutter, Wellsville, N.Y., 2/5/11.

’76 James D. Norman Jr., Richmond, Va., 4/15/11.

’69 Samuel B. Koon, Richmond, Va., 12/9/10.

’76 Bernard S. Wisthoff, Orlando, Fla., 1/5/11.

Class Notes

’77 Laurale T. Collins, Martinsville, Va., 4/26/11.

’87 John T. Harrington, Mora, N.M., 6/6/11.

’78 John L. Moore, Staunton, Va., 4/24/10.

’87 Thane S. Koontz, Franklin, Va., 4/14/11.

’78 David C. Trumble, Crofton, Md., 5/10/11.

’88 Anthony J. Lopacinski, Nolensville, Tenn., 6/15/11.

’79 Robert K. Drum, Florissant, Colo., 9/30/10.

’88 Guillermo A. Monkman, Las Vegas, Nev., 8/7/10.

’79 Robert E. Fulton, Jonesborough, Tenn., 4/27/11.

’88 William M. Perdue Jr., Baltimore, Md., 4/26/11.

’79 Bruce F. Jamerson, Midlothian, Va., 4/24/11. ’80 Sheryl Kidd Mamokos, Toano, Va., 12/31/10. ’80 Ralph K. Pickard, Moravian Falls, N.C., 5/11/11. ’80 Bernard L. Price II, Roanoke, Va., 12/21/10. ’81 Amy E. Thompson, Charlotte, N.C., 5/25/11. ’82 Christopher A. Bucher, Leesburg, Va., 9/4/10. ’82 Chris Epley, York, Pa., 5/12/11. ’83 James K. O’Toole, Macatawa, Mich., 12/19/09. ’84 Mark J. Allen, Maryville, Ill., 6/17/11. ’85 Don E. Cash Jr., Winchester, Va., 5/1/11. ’85 Robert L. Johnston, Augusta, Ga., 5/26/11. ’85 Allen D. Martin, Northridge, Calif., 5/27/11. ’85 Robert A. Taylor Jr., Blacksburg, Va., 6/3/11. ’86 Paul S. Plott Jr., Martinsburg, W.Va., 4/4/11. ’86 Raymond R. Van Lienden, Clifton, Va., 5/4/11. ’87 Elizabeth A. Audet, McLean, Va., 6/8/11.

’89 Charles E. Carter Jr., Wilmington, Del., 9/18/10. ’90 Kevin D. Parker, Jasper, Ga., 11/23/10. ’91 Verna S. Gifford, Schertz, Texas, 4/5/11. ’92 Kathleen Robinson Barker, Galax, Va., 4/9/11. ’92 Karl A. Zulinski, Wilmington, Del., 5/13/11. ’93 Andrew S. Holmes, Alexandria, Va., 1/18/11. ’94 Freddie W. Brown, Doswell, Va., 4/4/11. ’95 Carolyn I. Roberts, Wytheville, Va., 6/3/11. ’97 Robert C. Ward, Charleston, S.C., 2/3/11. ’98 Le D. Hoang, Alexandria, Va., 4/13/11. ’00 Jason M. Maimone, Peabody, Mass., 12/27/10. ’01 Michael E. Malsbury, Ringoes, N.J., 4/22/11. ’08 Suneel K. Sarma, Salt Lake City, Utah, 5/9/11. ’09 John T. Potter, Virginia Beach, Va., 6/22/11.

Alumni Obit Henry Dekker (accounting ’47), of Blacksburg, Va., former rector of the Virginia

Tech Board of Visitors, died June 13 at age 90. Dekker was a longtime member of the Pamplin Advisory Council and a recipient of the Pamplin College of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1990. He also was the class ring collection namesake for the Class of 1998. In 1999, Dekker was awarded the William Henry Ruffner Medal, the university’s highest honor for dedicated and distinguished service. He was a senior benefactor of the Ut Prosim Society, a member of the Legacy Society, and a former board member of the William Preston Society. While at Virginia Tech, Dekker served in the Corps of Cadets from September 1940 until March 1943. He was elected president of the Class of 1944 for each of three years and was elected president of the Corps of Cadets in January 1943. He also served as vice president of the German Club (1942-43) and president in 1946 and 1947.

Faculty Obit Edward McPherson, learning technologies support specialist, died July 4. Born in Mississippi and raised on Chicago’s Westside, McPherson was the first in his family to attend college after graduating from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. He then went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976. After pursuing a career in finance and banking at Swiss Bank in New York City, he moved his family to Roanoke to pursue his passions for youth, technology, and education, and had been a member of the Virginia Tech community over the past decade.

Hokies are “IT”! In September, a website dedicated to information technology (IT) in government noted that Virginia Tech has a knack for exporting IT leaders. The FedScoop website featured the 11 Hokies listed below. If you know of other Hokies in homeland security, let us know at • Letitia Long (electrical engineering ’82), direc- tor, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency • Paige Atkins (electrical engineering ’84), direc- tor for strategic planning and information at the Defense Information Systems Agency • Kevin Meiners (electrical engineering ’84), acting deputy undersecretary of defense for portfolio, programs, and resources • Kenneth Myers (liberal arts and sciences ’92), director, Defense Threat Reduction Agency • Lynn Schnurr (health and physical education ’75), Army intelligence chief information officer for the deputy chief of staff and direc tor of the Intelligence Community Informa tion Management Directorate • Dennis Clem (computer science ’73), chief information officer, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense • Ellen Embrey (psychology ’76), formerly assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, now a counselor at The Cohen Group • Bob Flores (statistics ’75, M.S. ’77), formerly chief technology officer at the Central Intelli- gence Agency, now founder, president, and CEO of Applicology • Alan Wade (electrical engineering ’73), chief information officer, Central Intelligence Agency • Gary Winkler (electrical engineering ’83), formerly Army program executive for enterprise information systems, now CEO at Cyber Solu- tions and Systems • Tim Beres (history ’91), formerly director of preparedness programs at the Department of Homeland Security, now vice president of CNA, a not-for-profit research and analysis organization Virginia Tech Magazine | Fall 2011


i m pa c .

Advancing economic strength and quality of life in the commonwealth is integral to Virginia Tech’s mission. That’s why we’re partnering with General Motors and the Virginia Tobacco Commission to create the National Tire Research Center in Halifax County. Serving automotive companies, government agencies, and military entities, the center will help enhance consumer safety, reduce fuel consumption, and accelerate the development of green tire technology while infusing $150 million into the area’s economy over the next decade. What’s more, it will create nearly 200 new jobs, attract businesses to the area, and transform Southside into an automotive research and technology leader. We’re proud to be involved in this initiative and help improve the wellbeing of people in Virginia and nationwide. To learn more, visit

Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.